Security conference speakers

I just wrote a story on one of the RSA 2005 keynotes. Anyone like to share their opinion on this topic? Frank Abagnale: Catch him if you can,289142,sid14_gci1035900,00.html The former ID thief made famous in a Leonardo DiCaprio movie wants to withdraw from the information security talk circuit after industry leaders challenge his credentials.

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I think it is very wrong to witch-hunt people for wrongs commited in times past but which have been atoned for. Frank has been standing on the side of good for the past 30 years, working against the very thing that brought him so much notoriety. He has never at any time been known to glorify his past even though Hollywood celebrated it in the movie. I am not an American but the perception we have of America is that you are not discriminated against based on your past. Howard Schmidt’s opinion like you said has 2 major points

“Schmidt’s personal opinion, and not those of any organization he is affiliated with, is that there are plenty of other experts without a criminal background who can present the same information. After all, these conferences as supposed to be for security professionals to learn from other security professionals. Also as Howard points out, the fact that he is famous for his criminal acts supports the “crime does pay” perception. .”

The first point obviously holds no water as Frank is now a security professional having acquired skills beyond those he used to perpetuate those crimes in other to thwart anyone who might toe his initial path. The fact that he receives good review from his listeners shows that he is a relevant speaker.

The second point is also a very subjective one, Frank did not write the script for “Catch me if you can”, those who watch the movie will come to their own conclusions as to whether crime pays. Howard cannot claim to speak for everybody who watches the movie.

I will like to conclude by illustrating from the bible that one of the subsequently most famous apostles who spread the christian gospel was Apostle Paul who was initially a persecutor of proponents of the christian gospel. He personally supervised the execution of one of the first Christian martyrs, then went ahead to write the largest number of epistles after his conversion.

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