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Manas asked: What measures government is taking to counter Artificial Intelligence based attacks?

Munish Sharma replies: There have been few instances where botnets or malware were alleged to be Artificial Intelligence or AI-based attacks. Given the versatility of this technology, AI driven cyber attacks are quite likely to surface in future. At the same time, AI has an important role in cyber defence and it is being used to defend networks, identify vulnerabilities and to detect cyber attacks. As of now, there is no reported instance of AI-based cyber attack in India.

The Indian Government has an AI Strategy in place, which also intends to harness this technology for cybersecurity and cyber defence. The National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) will augment advanced research in next-generation technologies such as AI, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Quantum Information Sciences. To leverage the economic benefits, an AI Task Force has also been set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Although there are no specific, known or reported, measures in place to counter AI-based attacks, the cybersecurity agencies have taken cognisance of the issue and have elevated their preparedness. Once the research and development ecosystem for AI takes a concrete shape with the implementation of AI Strategy, technology research and development for AI and machine learning in cybersecurity will benefit immensely.

Posted on June 28, 2019

Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.