If it’s smart, it’s vulnerable

Mikko Hyppönen talks about deepfakes, cyber war and cyber education, and why this is the hottest AI summer on record.

08 December 2023

Mikko Hyppönen

Mikko Hyppönen is full of nervous energy, but then he’s just come off the stage after delivering a talk at ITWeb’s Security Summit in Sandton earlier this year. Up close, he’s markedly pale, befitting one who duels with denizens of the shadowy world of cybercrime. He’s also the closest thing that the cybersecurity world has to a celebrity, and has set down his thoughts in a book called If It’s Smart, It’s Vulnerable. In compact chapters, he examines the many facets of the connected world and what it means for our privacy and safety, taking in the history of Trojans, crypto, cyberweapons, and this year’s hot ticket, AI.

Hyppönen has been working in the industry for over three decades, and says one of the biggest shifts was when everything went online. This was followed by the rise of IoT and the smart devices revolution. Nowadays, all parts of society have been computerised – every factory is a computer and a car is a datacentre on wheels, which has led to a third, grand, trend, the revolution of machine learning and artificial intelligence, he says. “The AI revolution might be bigger than the internet revolution, and that’s saying something.”

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