Exclusive Gathering at Firstrust Bank’s Headquarters Discusses How A.I. and Cybersecurity Converge to Redefine Leadership in the Digital Age | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

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Firstrust Bank hosts a Philadelphia Titan 100 event urging business leaders to be wary of the dangers artificial intelligence poses to society. Left: Peggy Leimkuhler, Chief Operating and Chief Technology Officer at Firstrust Bank, and Adwait Joshi, CEO of DataSeers.

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Artificial intelligence has always promised a future filled with innovation and progress. This promise, however, is not without its perils.

As we stand on the cusp of a new technological dawn, experts are warning of the potential dangers that A.I. poses to society.

That was the theme of a Philadelphia Titan 100 event — held recently at Firstrust Bank’s headquarters in Conshohocken — that discussed how A.I. and cybersecurity are converging to redefine leadership in the digital age.

Philadelphia Titan 100 is a premier group of 100 CEOs and C-level executives who represent both the region’s private and public sector. Keynote speaker Adwait Joshi, the CEO of DataSeers, urged these individuals — the “titans of industry” who demonstrate exceptional leadership, vision, passion, and influence in their field — to use a balanced approach to harness the benefits of A.I. while mitigating its risks.

“This technology, in the hands of good people, can do a lot of great things, but just imagine this same technology in the hands of bad people,” said Joshi, whose SaaS (software as a service) company addresses the challenges experienced by the banking and payments industry. “Some people want to see how far it can go, how much they can experiment. Leaders like Steve Wozniak (Apple) and Elon Musk (Tesla) have actually signed petitions saying they will not create technology that can harm humankind. Musk has said that A.I. will be the cause of World War III.”

Although A.I. has been around for more than a half-century, recent breakthroughs in generative A.I. — algorithms (think ChatGPT) that can be used to create text, audio, images, videos, etc. — have drastically changed content creation.

“When talking about A.I., it’s important to focus on what specifically you’re talking about,” said Peggy Leimkuhler, the Chief Operating and Chief Technology Officer at Firstrust Bank who moderated the Q&A portion of the event and shared her expertise from a banking career that spans more than two decades. “In our business, we’ve been using A.I. for decades. When you use a credit card, and you get an alert asking if it’s really you (making a purchase), that’s A.I. It’s an amazing tool that brings lots of benefits. But we all need to be thoughtful about the risks.”

Leimkuhler’s experience includes virtually all aspects of commercial banking with a focus on technology, operating infrastructure, and compliance and risk management. She emphasized how imperative it is for the leaders in attendance to think about the security of their businesses, particularly their banking and financials.

“I can tell you directly that nobody thinks it’s going to happen to them until it happens to them,” Leimkuhler said about security breaches. “There’s nobody in this room whose Social Security Number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, last address isn’t known. Your information is out there, and the best way to protect yourself is to be thoughtful about security.”

Metro Philadelphia recently named Leimkuhler one of its 2024 Power Women for her work in making Philadelphia a more equitable and innovative city. She serves as Board Chair of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, which works to connect the city to the world, and is the first woman to do so in the nonprofit’s 75-year history of positioning the region as an international hub for business, education, culture, and sub-national diplomacy.

At Firstrust, Leimkuhler is tasked with ensuring the bank’s secure, reliable operating infrastructure and that its strategic technology investments evolve with customers’ changing needs.

“There are a lot of things little things we can do to keep us healthy paranoid,” said Leimkuhler. “We want to be healthy paranoid.”

“We only protect ourselves from what we know; we don’t protect ourselves from what we don’t know,” said Joshi. “You cannot be lazy. It’s not about if (you’re going to be attacked); it’s when. They (cybercriminals) only have to be right once. You have to be right every single time to avoid any attack. If there’s something valuable, someone is going to try to steal it. That’s the law of nature.”

Learn more about how Firstrust Bank is leading the charge with cybersecurity at a time when artificial intelligence and cybercriminals across the globe are increasingly compromising technology and disrupting personal and business life.


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