As an expected 40,000 cybersecurity professionals gathered in San Francisco for this year’s RSA conference, discussions of “threat actors” and “advanced malware protection” filled the giant halls of the downtown Moscone Center.
But they were all drowned out by a giant fox and a magician. At least in spirit, anyway.
Sure, over the course of the conference’s second day, April 17, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen made fun of Congress’s apparent technological obliviousness, and Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith shouted out Signal. But while sort of interesting, these moment’s weren’t exactly groundbreaking.
And that shouldn’t be a surprise. Like many industry conferences held in similar faceless convention centers around the globe, RSA is a mix of mostly dull keynote talks and attempts at lead generation. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. After all, it’s frequently the entire point of events like RSA.
It was in this subterranean land of digital promises that we stumbled across Nick the magician and a dancing almost-furry.
Posted up in front of a booth offering a “security cloud [that] detects web and email-based threats as they emerge,” magician Nick Fedoroff drew a small crowd that was clearly impressed by his infosec-themed show.
“By moving security to the cloud with Cyren,” he gently intoned while balling up what appeared to be pieces of dental floss in his hands, “you’ll be able to stay ahead of even the most advanced cyber threats.”
The playing cards scattered across the floor let us all know he meant business.
And Fedoroff wasn’t the only ray of sunshine to peek through the fluorescent-lit skies of RSA. Across a long walkway into Moscone North lay the booth of ZeroFOX — a “social media & digital protection platform built for enterprises” — and a man in a giant fox suit.
The kind folks at ZeroFOX told us about how their services can protect against social media account hijacking, but it was the fox — and its corresponding impressive ability to strike a pose — that we want to know more about.
Now, to be clear, Tuesday was only the second day of a five-day conference. Tomorrow’s talk on new attack techniques will surely spice things up. Probably. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t hoping Fedoroff and the fox make an onstage appearance.
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