RSAC Unplugged, A Visual Retrospective

Posted on by Fahmida Y. Rashid

At RSA Conference, we like to experiment and try out new things. We tried crowd-sourcing some sessions for RSA Conference 2015. We are having year-round conversations through blog posts and webcasts. With RSAC Unplugged, we put 120 people in one room with excellent speakers and waited to see what would happen. We took away the exhibit hall and the sales pitches, consolidated all the tracks into one, and boiled down RSA Conference to its basics.

What we got was magic.

RSAC Unplugged London

For a full day, we had thought-provoking conversation, insightful research, hacking demonstrations, and lots of opportunities to network with industry peers. We promised the following: It’s acoustic vs. electric. It’s informal, up close and personal, intimate…it’s raw and uncut. At times, it felt as if we were all just sitting around a large living room, sharing stories and learning from each other.

The image above is a visual representation of RSAC Unplugged, in London. The theme was Ghostbusters, with each of our speakers busting “digital ghosts.” (Cue theme song…”I ain’t afraid of no ghost…”) Check it out for some great quotes and insights shared throughout the day.

We had region-specific research: Stuart Aston, chief security advisor at Microsoft UK joined his Microsoft counterpart Tim Rains to discuss the security threat landscape of the United Kingdom and Europe.  Dr. Vangelis Ouzounis, head of secure infrastructures and services unit at ENISA weighed in with his insights on cyber-threats affecting European critical infrastructure. Experts provided practical insights:Javvad Malik, security advocate at Alienvault, talked about insider threats. David Porter, special advisor at Digital Shadows, honed in on the fact that humans are fallible. “The blame and train approach doesn’t work anymore.”

Jason Rader, director of cyber-threat intelligence at RSA Security talked about threat intelligence. Eduardo Ustaran, partner at Hogan Lovells International, led the audience through a fascinating discussion of privacy in Europe and the resulting legisltative landscape. Were any CEOs paying attention while James Lyne, global head of security research at Sophos, demonstrated how to hack a business? His demonstrations weren’t just theoretical “what if” scenarios, but actual techniques cyber-criminals have used over the past 12 months.

BBC’s Alexis Conran and Hugh Thompson engaged in a lively discussion about how humans are gullible—and how what makes us human is exactly what makes us vulnerable to phishing and compromise. If we are aware of why we can get hit, we can then do something about it. 

Presentations for the individual sessions are available on the Unplugged page. We asked the speakers to focus on what’s important in security right now. Would you like to see more of this kind of RSAC programming? Let us know. We are always looking for new ways to bring industry experts and information security professionals together. 

What will we do next? You tell us.


Fahmida Y. Rashid

Information Security Journalist, Editor-in-Chief, RSA Conference

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