Kathleen Fisher, Director, Innovation Information Office, DARPA

Kathleen Fisher

Director, Innovation Information Office, DARPA

Kathleen Shanahan Fisher was born in 1969 in San Marino, California. She earned an undergraduate degree in Math and Computer Studies at Stanford University, where she earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science. 

She worked at AT&T Labs Research, becoming a principal member of the technical staff. She was a consulting professor of computer science at Stanford. She later became a program manager at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Department of Defense. Concurrent with her scientific research there, she was also a professor of computer science at Tufts University, where she still serves as the department chair. 

Fisher is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

In the News…

Director of the Information Innovation Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Kathleen Fisher, warned that generative artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT, will change the landscape by making it easier for adversaries to produce high-quality phishing capabilities and ransomware campaigns.   

As AI evolves, she explained, technology advances will allow persons with less experience to create more cyber attacks. 

Director Fisher said, “In the short term, the generative AI – where you can generate images and video and voice, you can generate fake websites really fast, you can generate custom phishing messages” will provide “the ability to create high quality phishing capabilities.” 

She added, “I think we, right now, trust a lot of things that we should not—that we won’t be able to trust in the future.” 

“In recent times, you could have a fair guess that something might be spam, for example, if it was grammatically incorrect,” Fisher explained. “Well, ChatGPT writes really good grammatically – it’s better than people.” 

“Because these systems can write code, they can write a lot of the scripts that are commonly used in ransomware,” she said. “So, the barrier for somebody who doesn’t actually have much training to generate phishing emails and personas and ransomware can go down quite a bit.” 


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