Generative AI providing fuel for hackers, DISA Director Skinner says

BALTIMORE — Generative artificial intelligence, software capable of carrying a convincing, human-like conversation or crafting content like computer code with little prompting, will make hackers more sophisticated, ultimately raising the bar for U.S. safeguards, according to the leader of the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Director Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner said the technology is one of the most disruptive developments he’s seen in a long time, and has serious security implications. A similar warning was issued by the National Security Agency’s cybersecurity boss, Rob Joyce, earlier this year.

“Those who harness that, and can understand how to best leverage it, but also how to best protect against it, are going to be the ones who have the high ground,” Skinner said May 2 at the AFCEA TechNet Cyber conference in Baltimore. “We in this room are thinking about how this applies to cybersecurity. How does it apply to intelligence? How does it apply to our warfighting capabilities?”

Generative AI in recent months was popularized by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which accrued more than 1 million users within a week of its launch. Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, in March told ABC News he worries about how these models could be used for widespread disinformation and “could be used for offensive cyberattacks.”


Skinner on Tuesday predicted generative AI would not be a significant tool for “high-end adversaries.” Rather, the tech “is going to help a whole bunch of other individuals get up to that level in

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