Fortinet: AI Automation Creates New Challenges

As businesses increasingly adopt artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to streamline operations, enhance efficiency and gain competitive advantages, it is becoming crucial for them to address the new, intricate security challenges that accompany this new paradigm, according to Fortinet.

During the security keynote, “Navigating the Nexus, A chat about AI Automation Integration and Security” at the Content Protection Summit (CPS) @ NAB 2024 in Las Vegas on April 13, Michael Smiley, director of systems engineering at Fortinet, explored the intersection of AI, automation and integration, and how it can impact innovation and growth, as well as its cyber security implications.

Smiley took a look at the horizon to gauge what effect AI will be having on workflows, while prioritizing security as it evolves, as well as how it may impact brand reputation in a media environment that is quickly changing.

From threat detection and risk mitigation to data privacy and compliance, Smiley discussed key strategies and best practices to fortify an organization’s environment against misuse and cyber threats.

In the process, he helped to unravel the complexities of AI, automation and integration, and unlock the potential for secure, transformative business processes.

Fortinet has been using AI-driven tools and been in this sector for many years, moderator Richard Atkinson, CDSA president and chairman emeritus, pointed out to attendees.

When it comes to dealing with security, “AI really presents an interesting solution,” Smiley said, calling it  the “natural answer to the problem of big data.”

Smiley added: “What do you do when an organization has collected massive amounts of data? A human can’t really process all of that. So, consequently, we need something” to deal with that.

Fortinet started using AI for malware analysis, Smiley recalled. “Now, for those of you who sort of know the malware space a little bit, there’s lots of iterations where you can use pieces of code, and reuse pieces of code, and that sort of thing. Much like you guys are talking about in terms of reuse of identity [and] points of identity…. What it means is that we can come up with novel, unique things, or what appears unique.  And so what we did was we spent a lot of time trying to get to the point where we have AI analyze all of this malware that we got from all over the world coming into us.”

What then happened, Smiley said, “we spent a better part of about a decade training AI in order … to get to the point where it’s as good as a human if they sat down and analyzed that same file and identified the malware.”

He added: “Since we’ve done that, I think some interesting spaces” have started embracing the technology, including visual processing, which he said is “something in that sort of artificial intelligence and machine learning world that’s used pretty widely, Tesla being a great non-security example.”

The security sector, he went on to say, is not “where I wish we were today, and we’re getting there, but we’re not quite there” in finding “something that can analyze all of the inputs that we have as a result of big data,” he said.

Wrapping up the session, Atkinson said: “This has been insightful…. It’s great just to kind of see from your perspective [and] from Fortinet’s perspective how this AI technology is evolving. You’re hopeful that it’s going to continue to allow us to get smarter?”

Smiley responded: “I think so. It presents the opportunity for us” to do that in the security space.

CPS is presented by Fortinet, with sponsorship by AMD, Convergent, Digital Silence, NAGRA, Prime Focus Technologies, and EIDR, in association with the NAB Show. The event is produced by MESA and the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA).