Day 2 Recap: Keynote Highlights, Cryptographers’ Panel, RSAC Launch Pad, and More

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Our keynotes kicked off with a bang that was especially loud this year due to an additional keynote stage. Across our South and West stages, we saw nine keynotes from a wide range of luminaries on a variety of topics. 

In the opening keynote on the West Stage, the audience was surprised by Academy Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, who implored attendees to “seize this moment to be better and stronger together.” She asked the packed house to find something meaningful to them on their phone, hold it up and show it to the folks sitting on each side of them. “This week you have an extraordinary opportunity on your hands,” she said. “Lead, change and lift each other up to build a better future together.” 

Mirren was immediately followed on stage by Niloofar Razi Howe (cybsersecurity strategist and entrepreneur) and Rohit Ghai (president, RSA) who spoke about The Trust Landscapeand what our world might look like in 2049. They predicted three key environments impacting trust in 20 years’ time: 1) security has become a risk management problem and is based on trust; 2) man + machine are together more trustworthy than each alone; 3) reputation as a mark for trustworthiness. “By effectively managing digital risk, we can embrace new technology to make business more efficient, transactions more secure and promote humanity,” said Howe. “In 2049 we will have reclaimed the internet as a promoter of social commerce.” 

The always well-attended Cryptographers’ Panel was full yet again, as moderator Zulfikar Ramzan (Chief Technology Officer, RSA) was joined on stage by academic and technical panelists who collectively dove deep into the future of cryptography in an increasingly hyperconnected world. The conversation touched on many topics, from how GDPR is affecting privacy regulation in other arenas and how organizations will be fined for privacy breaches, to elections hacking, cryptocurrencies, cryptography within hardware development and how to gain public trust with new technologies.  

In a much-anticipated keynote on the West stage, FBI Director Christopher Wray was interviewed by Susan Hennessey (Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution; Executive Editor, Lawfare) about the FBI’s approach to cyberthreats. “Today’s cyberthreats are bigger than any one agency or government itself, but no agency brings the same combination of scope, scale, tools, and relationships that the FBI does,” he said. When asked about the relationship between the public and private sectors in confronting cyberthreats, Wray said, “cyberthreat is a multidisciplinary threat so it requires a multidisciplinary response…we couldn’t do what we do without the private sector.” Hennessey asked about diversity within the FBI’s ranks, to which Wray noted, “I’m struck by the diversity I see around the table. There’s a surprising number of people from STEM backgrounds or people who came from Wall Street.” 

And in an afternoon keynote on the South stage titled Security at 36,000 Feet!, Emily Heath (VP and CISO, United Airlines) spoke to attendees about the airline’s security program and its approach to security in a rapidly evolving industry.

A big congratulations to one of the panelists from the Cryptographer’s Panel, Tal Rabin, who won the annual award for Excellence in the Field of Mathematics. The award recognizes innovation and ongoing contributions to the field of cryptography and Rabin, who serves as the head of cryptography research at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, said “many previous recipients of this award have been my inspiration and role models, so it’s a great honor to be recognized alongside them.” 

Over in the Marriott Marquis, Styra, NuID, and Spherical Defence had 10 minutes to pitch their solution Shark Tank®-style to a panel of venture capitalists in our first-ever RSAC Launch Pad. Styra intrigued two of our VCs, who will be continuing conversations with them, and all participants walked away with insights and tips into what could take their pitch and company to the next level. 

Also in the Marriott Marquis, the RSC Early Stage Expo got under way this evening with the CyBEER Ops Networking Reception & International Meet-Up. The Early Stage Expo will run through Thursday afternoon with some amazing emerging talent at each booth, so don’t miss the chance to meet 50+ of the industry’s up-and-coming companies!

Wednesday: A Preview Snapshot

  • Keynotes: A reminder that this year we have two keynote stages, Moscone West and Moscone South. We encourage you to check out the full schedule, and keep in mind that Conference will also be livestreamingsome of this year’s keynotes. Here’s a few you won’t want to miss on Wednesday:
    • Weaponization of the Internet – 11:15-11:55am in Moscone West. Explores issues involved in controlling the internet, censorship and the impact on democracy.
    • Strategic Competition: The Rise of Persistent Presence and Innovation – 1:30-2:20pm in Moscone South: CBS News reporter Olivia Gazis will interview General Paul Nakasone (United States Army, Commander, United States Cyber Command, National Security Agency) about how NSA and USCYBERCOM use counterthreats to defend our nation.
    • A Conversation with Donna Brazile and Mary Matalin – 4:25-4:50pm at Moscone West. These two friends with differing political perspectives will provide insightful, inspiring and informative commentary, as well as a welcome reprieve to the often-overwrought modern political landscape.
  • Birds of a Feather – 7-7:50am and 12:40-1:30pm in Moscone West. Bring your breakfast or lunch to these discussions, some of which are pre-defined and led by speakers and some of which develop organically by design. Open to Full Conference attendees only.
  • Expo Pub Crawl4:30-6pm on the Expo floor.Visit sponsoring companies, get your badge scanned, and learn about their latest products, services, and innovations. You'll have a choice of beer or wine at bars located at their booths (soda and water will also be offered).
  • RSAC After Hours: Game Night– 6:30-8:30pm in the Marriott Marquis. What pairs well with RSAC 2019? A whiskey & wine tasting, of course. Kick off Wednesday night with a walk through the “underground cellar.” Then, gather in the lounge to sip on an assortment of wines and whiskeys expertly selected from local vineyards and distilleries while soaking up the jazzy sounds of our live band.

A reminder that Expo floor hours Wednesday will be 10am-6pm and we encourage those who are unable to join us live to check out RSAC OnDemand, featuring some of Conference’s most anticipated moments.  

Seen in the News

  • RSAC: Our Tech Advances Must be Trustworthy & Embrace Risk
  • Axonius' 'Unsexy' Tool Wins RSAC Innovation Sandbox
  • Helen Mirren at RSA security conference: You're heroes who 'patrol a vast untamed wasteland'
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