AI, Propaganda, and Lessons On Advanced Cybersecurity with Paul Christopher

In this episode of CHATTINN CYBER, Marc Schein interviews Paul Christopher, Senior Social Scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he serves as the principal investigator for various defense and security related research projects. In today’s conversation, Paul talks mainly about AI and the need for introducing/enhancing AI cybersecurity and advancing information technology protection with time.

Paul begins the conversation by discussing cognitive security, or the concept of protecting the safety of ideas and thought processes. From a national perspective, it is about protecting citizens from foreign interference in their right to think and participate in national politics. It is an old concept, rooted in the idea of war being a contest of wills and politics by other means.

Further into the conversation, he discusses AI and how it is affecting propaganda by allowing for automated amplification through the use of bots. As AI becomes more sophisticated, there is a greater danger of it being used for propagandistic purposes. One example is using a Gann, a generative adversarial network, where one AI generates messages and the other detects and prevents them, but in an unethical manner, the second AI could be removed and the messages could be directed at real people. Countries are spending more money on propaganda, but it is still cheaper than traditional military capabilities. The effectiveness of propaganda is difficult to measure, but the power of an integrated physical and informational campaign, as seen in the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, is highly effective.

Paul and Marc also discuss deep fakes and shallow fakes—methods of creating fake videos using AI technology and how both these types of fakes can be effective in deceiving people. They also discuss counter propaganda—a method of countering the effects of propaganda by providing counter messaging or a counter narrative to counteract it.

Towards the close of the conversation, Paul highlights the human vulnerability to misinformation and disinformation and how it’s important for everyone to remember that we are challenged cognitively. Humans often think fast and use heuristics, which make them more susceptible to being tricked, manipulated, or deceived. He also mentions the cognitive bias called Blind Spot bias, where people are willing to see vulnerabilities in others but not in themselves. He advises people to be aware of these vulnerabilities, not to believe everything they see and to find ways to improve their media literacy and to use tools to screen disinformation or at least pop up warnings when there’s an uncredible source.


“If you’re countering propaganda, either your counter messaging or doing a counter narrative, where you’re trying to claim the opposite of whatever the propaganda is, or overwhelm it with the truth or counteract it. Which unfortunately, the research in social psychology suggests isn’t very effective, because the first mover advantage is hugely important.”

“There are things that the government can do to pass laws and regulations to make foreign propaganda, either require labels or to be illegal so that you can then indict foreign propagandists and affect them.”

“There’s this thing called Blind Spot bias, where we’re willing to see these vulnerabilities in others but we imagine that we ourselves are special or magical or invulnerable.”


[00:14] – How Paul ended up becoming a senior social scientist at the Rand Corporation

[01:35] – What is cognitive security?

[04:15] – Are countries spending money on propaganda campaigns?

[06:26] – Distinguishing deep fakes and shallow fakes

[12:21] – Understanding counter propaganda and the ways to curb it

[17:24] – Final thoughts

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Underwriting and The Future Of Cybersecurity With Marcin Weryk

In this episode of CHATTINN CYBER, Marc Schein interviews Marcin Weryk, Head of Business Development at Coalition Inc. The duo get into underwriting, cyber risks, and the future of cybersecurity, among other discussions on business and the changing world.

Marcin began by providing background on his upbringing, sharing that he was born in Poland and raised in Brooklyn. He also mentioned his journey to becoming a renowned cyber underwriter after graduating from St. John’s University with a major in finance and later participating in a training program at CNA to gain knowledge in the insurance industry. The training program ultimately led to his placement on CNA’s cyber tech NPL team and his entry into the field of cyber insurance.

Marcin stresses the importance of having a strong underwriter in the team who’s knowledgeable in both analytics and marketing. The key for underwriters is to not only be creative and thorough but also reliable and trustworthy. It is also critical to learn to interpret and analyze data in cybersecurity.

Further in the conversation, Marcin mentions Coalition and introduces it as the most innovative insurance company for reasons including its careful and correct analyses of data and the risk selection and prevention mindset of its employees. At its core, Coalition is a technology company that uses data more effectively than other insurance companies.

Marcin also shares two concerns businesses will face in the coming years. One is the need to improve the quality of data collection and utilization to reduce cyber risks. The second was about the data currently being used to underwrite better from a loss perspective, which leads to many issues. Business controls are essential in underwriting and risk mitigation.

He wraps up the conversation by highlighting the future of cyber issues, focusing on two of the most pressing issues: the exposure of systemic failure and privacy concerns.

Listen to the conversation for more details!


“I think what’s different about Coalition is the ability to understand that learning from data is important. And learning from data is even more important in the ever-changing space of cybersecurity. I think we at Coalition differentiate in that we are continuously making sure we look at risk selection and risk prevention. From a forward-looking perspective, not a backward-looking perspective.”

“And I think that’s the big differentiation is, most people are stuck looking backward, Coalition is good at looking forward. And I think that is what drives our value. The other part that’s been imperative to the growth and success of Coalition and others in this space that is leaning on data better, is the concept of continuous monitoring.”

“One is the systemic failure exposure that we’re all dealing with. I personally think that the marketplace will evolve into a space where there will be standard coverage, and yet also separate catastrophe cyber coverage. I don’t think that that’s that far in the future. Just for clarity purposes, I think many people will be interested in that type of cover. The other one that some people have started to speak about, but I don’t think it’s getting as much attention as it should is privacy as a peril.”


[01:08] – How did Marcin become a cyber underwriter and how did he get involved in cyber?

[02:53] – Important roles of an underwriter

[04:43] – What is so unique about Coalition and how they are the most creative insurance company?

[07:42] – What made Marcin go to the technology from phenomenal insurance carriers?

[10:33] – Challenges and cyber risks businesses are going to face in the next two years that concerns underwriters

[13:52] – How important are controls for a business?

[16:10] – Some of the future issues we may be facing

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