Booz Allen Ventures Bolsters Adversarial AI Capabilities with HiddenLayer Investment

In a significant move to fortify its position as a leading federal government provider of artificial intelligence services, Booz Allen Ventures has announced a strategic investment in HiddenLayer, a cutting-edge machine learning (ML) model security platform. This partnership is set to augment Booz Allen's long standing adversarial AI capabilities, honed through extensive work for the Department of Defense and intelligence clients. The investment is poised to accelerate the adoption of secure enterprise AI solutions, addressing emerging national security threats and the burgeoning expectations of consumers.

While pre-trained open-source models have undoubtedly been a boon for the AI community, they have also exposed models to increased vulnerability to adversarial attacks. Recognizing this critical challenge, Booz Allen Ventures emphasizes the necessity for every AI-enabled solution to undergo rigorous risk assessment and be fortified against potential threats. Matt Keating, Booz Allen's Adversarial AI portfolio head, underscores the importance of safeguarding AI models, particularly as the government deploys them in increasingly vital applications.

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Their clients operate in complex environments, necessitating highly specialized, swiftly deployable, and ironclad AI models. The HiddenLayer investment is poised to amalgamate entrepreneurial, commercial, and open-source innovation, rapidly expanding Booz Allen's capabilities. This, in turn, enables the firm to swiftly and confidently deploy robust AI capacity, ensuring the security of its clients and the nation.

The investment in HiddenLayer comes as a response to the escalating cyber risks associated with the deployment of AI models in mission-critical systems. This risk is particularly pronounced in the federal, defense, civil, national security, and commercial domains. Booz Allen's adversarial AI capabilities, a pioneering force in safeguarding systems against attacks for over five years, will receive a significant boost from this partnership.

Their focus on model security extends to tackling critical issues such as data poisoning, leakage, evasion, and malicious code injection. Additionally, the firm has conducted extensive research on adversarial image perturbation robustness in computer vision models and explored how modified tabular data can enhance evasion of Microsoft Windows malware behavior.

Edward Raff, chief scientist at Booz Allen and leader of the Booz Allen ML research team, emphasizes the need for organizations to stay ahead of the adversarial tension that pre-trained open-source models can introduce. His team has been at the forefront of academic research on adversarial AI since 2018.

The investment aligns with Booz Allen's broader goals in generative AI and responsible AI, providing a robust security foundation as AI applications continue to proliferate. Travis Bales, Booz Allen Ventures Managing Director, notes that HiddenLayer's expertise and platform are pivotal in securing AI against a wide array of threats, positioning them as a key partner in protecting AI deployments.

This strategic investment empowers federal agencies to leverage HiddenLayer's award-winning machine learning detection and response platform, AI security research, risk assessments, managed detection and response services, as well as AI security engineering best practices, tools, and technologies. Chris Sestito, HiddenLayer Co-Founder and CEO, lauds Booz Allen's unwavering commitment to security, emphasizing that this partnership will allow the government to innovate through AI adoption with confidence, knowing they are shielded from all cyber threats, including those posed by nation-states.