ChatGPT through an Offensive Security Lens: Embracing a Brave New World

Keynote by Richard Ford

Tuesday, 28 February 2023
9:20am – 10:20am

A quick search of Google Trends will show that one search term has exploded in popularity over Christmas of 2022, going from a ‘0’ search interest in November of 2022 to a (predicted) 100 in January 2023. That term is ‘ChatGPT’, which is an implementation of a language model that some pundits have compared to the invention of the wheel.

In this talk, we’ll take a step back, and examine the bigger picture. Is ChatGPT (and other models of its ilk) a harbinger of trouble – a cyberspace ‘comet’ that points toward bad things to come, or is it a storm in a teacup, a linguistic sleight of hand, full of sizzle but of little substance? Aside from the obvious disruptions, what are the implications of advances in machine learning for cybersecurity and privacy? When coupled with other advances in the ecosystem, do these innovations provide a shield for the defender, or an arrow for the attacker? 

Drawing from history, we’ll take a look at other discontinuities in technological advancement. By taking a science-based view of the world, we look at what these models can – and cannot do, and how they can be abused by malfeasants for their own ends. Building on this foundation, there are certainly some developments that are easy to anticipate… But what of likely second-order effects? Finally, as leaders in the field of systems security, we will discuss strategies that can be used to maximize the chances of positive outcomes.

Richard Ford headshot

Keynote Speaker: Richard Ford, Praetorian

Dr. Richard Ford is the Chief Technology Officer of Praetorian. He has over 25 years’ experience in computer security, working with both offensive and defensive technology solutions. During his career, Ford has held positions with Cyren, Forcepoint, Virus Bulletin, IBM Research, and NTT Verio.

In addition to work in the private sector, he has also worked in academia, having held an endowed chair in Computer Security, and worked as Head of the Computer Sciences and Cybersecurity Department at the Florida Institute of Technology. Under his leadership, the University was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Research by the DHS and NSA.

He has published numerous papers and has authored over 25 issued patents in the security area. Ford holds a Bachelor’s, Master’s and D.Phil. in Physics from the University of Oxford. In addition to his work, he is an accomplished jazz flutist and Instrument Rated Private Pilot.

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