Avast News

Speakers and presenters from 11 nations gather at sold-out Cybersec & AI Prague

Jeff Elder, 23 October 2019

Conference hosted by Avast and the Czech Technical University will look at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cybersecurity

Speakers and presenters from 11 nations are converging this week in Prague to explore the intersection of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence at the sold-out Cybersec & AI Prague conference.

The machine vs. machine battle of adversarial AI, described by Avast researchers as an “active arms race (that) makes AI in security particularly challenging,” will be a major theme. Speakers will also discuss cybersecurity in elections around the globe, and how to set foundations and principles for AI that borrow from the best traditions of computer science. 

Student researchers will present their work in “poster sessions” featuring topics that include how people and computers can work together to find malware code hidden in images. Another group of student researchers is investigating how machine-learning tools age and whether that affects data – a very impressive and complex topic laid out on a poster illustrated with several dozen Pokemon characters.   

RajarshiGuptaWhile a major theme might be adversarial AI, the tone of the event is the opposite, said Rajarshi Gupta (pictured), Avast’s head of artificial intelligence, and a host of the event. “We organized this conference to bring together a community of security AI researchers who can make each other better by collaborating. It’s very exciting to see it happening.”

Friday’s one-day conference will unfold at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, a stunning modern art museum of clean lines and industrial chic. A hundred years ago, the space was a high-tech center of its own era, where companies built locomotives and early aircraft. 

MichalPechoucekThe Czech Technical University, which is partnering with Avast to present the conference, contributes several speakers and student presenters to the event. Bridging the gap between the two friendly organizations is Avast’s new chief technical officer, Michal Pechoucek (pictured) who is also a longtime CTU professor. Pechoucek will give the conference’s opening remarks. 

From U.S. academia, Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan will speak on a topic much in the news – election hacking. Halderman was researching election hacking a decade before the 2016 U.S. presidential race. He brought change to India’s elections, turned a U.S. voting machine into a Pac-Man arcade game, and warned Congress twice about the vulnerabilities that await 2020’s U.S. elections.

In its final session, the conference will look at the big picture in a panel titled AI For Good And Evil: Challenges And Opportunities In Privacy And Security. The session will be moderated by Dave Gershgorn, a senior writer for OneZero; and feature panelists Nicolas Papernot of the University of Toronto; Rachel Greenstadt of New York University; Battista Biggio of the University of Cagliari; and Gupta of Avast. 

The description of the panel hints at an intriguing view of the future: “Security is AI’s biggest challenge, and AI is security’s best opportunity. We will discuss what lies ahead for practitioners in AI and Security in the years to come.‍”