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Voices From Infosec - Peter Lowe

Peter Lowe joins Kali Fencl and Daniel Schwalbe for this edition of Voices from Infosec! We discuss Peter’s background, AI, its progress, and where we think it’s headed, informed consent on the Internet, and some of Peter’s interests outside of cybersecurity.

Daniel Schwalbe and Kali Fencl had the chance to sit down with Peter Lowe in this edition of Voices from Infosec. Peter is the DNS Abuse Ambassador for FIRST, block list maintainer, and co-host of the Not So Critical Update podcast. Our discussion jumps right into AI – it’s an exciting enough topic that we forgot to hit the record button right away! However, we do get a really meaty discussion we hope you all enjoy. 

Catching The Security Bug

Peter has always been excited about the Internet – he even began working at the UK’s second Internet cafe when he was about 17 years old. “Properly” doing cybersecurity is something he would say he’s been doing only for about four years at this point. He began working as a PHP developer, but he described getting into cybersecurity as more “falling” into it. He always loved command line and has run a block list for many years – over 50 million people have used it! 

The Rise of AI 

The conversation actually begins with us jumping into the topic of AI, which is something Peter is fascinated by because it is a genuinely new entity – he and Daniel even discuss when was the last time something genuinely new came onto the scene (usually, security issues are iterations of existing entities)? If you as a reader have any thoughts – we’d love to know! We discussed that the last truly new potential security issue to come to the forefront was the smartphone. 

The security issues attached to AI are not all currently known, and even if they were, there likely aren’t remediations at this point in time. We discuss the concepts of deep fakes and the old CEO phishing scam – the new problem could be AI using a CEO’s voice, much like how AI uses family members’ voices to call elders making it seem like they’re in distress – that’s an interesting, yet scary tactic we could start to see. 

How will it be used in the future? We speculate on that in the episode, but we agree that genuine creativity is missing from it at this point in time. We also agree that feeding it proprietary information as a business can decrease a competitive edge, so it’s a concept we approach with some caution. 

Was ChatGPT and the rise of AI a surprise to you? We talk about how it feels like it’s a concept that’s been discussed in the past, though it feels like the release of ChatGPT came so swiftly, that some of us had been caught off guard!

The Internet and Informed Consent

Both Peter and Daniel have children in their lives and we spend some time discussing how their roles in infosec and cybersecurity mold their conversations with them. The good news is that while kids certainly do love to be on the Internet, the younger generations seem to have more of an interest in maintaining their privacy some of the generations before them might not have considered. 

For Daniel, he works with his children on understanding the terms and conditions various apps share prior to creating an account. It’s his intention they understand what information they are feeding these apps and if they are informed and decide they still want to join, that’s one thing, but what they’re seeing is some of these apps are doing things with their data they don’t necessarily want to be part of – which is a infosec parent’s dream! Peter similarly spoke with the children closest to him and found they generally seem to be going in a positive direction when it comes to consent and privacy on the Internet. 

Travel and Geocaching 

We like to end our conversations with guests learning a bit more about who they are outside of cybersecurity. Peter has a penchant for travel and has lived in many different countries including the UK, Malta, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. He loves getting to the differences between cultures – we even talk about how security and privacy vary based on location! 

Travel also gives way to another of Peter’s interests, which is geocaching. While he doesn’t do it so much anymore, he’s found that it’s taken him to places he might not have been before – or made him look at various spots he’s passed and might not have given much thought to. He shares some of his most interesting finds and the cleverness behind them – be sure to check it out!

It was a wonderful conversation with Peter, and perhaps we’ll bring him back soon as AI continues to evolve. Peter – so, tomorrow? 🙂

That’s about all we have for this week, you can find us on Twitter @domaintools, all of the articles mentioned in our podcast will always be included on our podcast recap. Catch us Wednesdays at 9 AM Pacific time when we publish our next podcast and blog.

*A special thanks to John Roderick for our incredible podcast music!