A version of this post titled “Recapping RSA” originally appeared in the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter.
This week the 25th annual RSA Conference—the world’s biggest cybersecurity confab—took place in San Francisco. My colleague Jonathan Vanian was on the ground hobnobbing with cybersecurity folks (which apparently includes actor Sean Penn?), while I remained in snowy New York. He told me the big topic of conversation was—surprise, surprise—Apple versus FBI. Ironically, “crypto”—or encryption, the technology at the heart of the company’s present dispute with law enforcement—has become a much less popular topic of conversation at the confab in recent years, eclipsed by that catch-all “cyber.” Go figure.
In order to stave off pangs of FOMO, I participated in the conference from afar, previewing the keynote addresses of a few top cybersecurity execs. Here are some words of wisdom, culled from their remarks:
Martin Fink, tech chief at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
, said that security command centers are presently drowning in data, and they need help analyzing it all: “The security problem is now an analytics problem.”
Mark McLaughlin, CEO at Palo Alto Networks, said that people need to savvy up about cybersecurity: “The government needs to teach its citizens, parents need to teach their children, and employers need to teach their employees about hygiene in the digital age.”
Chris Young, Intel
Security lead, said: Rival computer security firms have little choice but to team up to stem the tide of data breaches. “Competition is holding [the cybersecurity industry] back.”
Amit Yoran, RSA president, said no fancy, expensive product can guarantee an organization’s safety: “There are no silver bullets in security.” (By the way, Yoran’s role in the impending Dell-EMC mega-beast has been announced; he’ll report to David Goulden, newly named head of the merged company’s enterprise systems group and former CEO of EMC’s information infrastructure unit.)
For more on cybersecurity, watch:
Some big government news came out of the event as well—namely that the Pentagon is getting a cyber makeover. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter made a number of announcements during his visit to the conference. First he said that Eric Schmidt, exec chairman of Alphabet
, will join the Defense Department to lead its defense innovation advisory board; second he said that the Pentagon has invited (vetted) hackers to find computer bugs in its public websites; and third he said that he is pro-encryption and anti-“backdoors.”
Prior to the confab I also caught up briefly with IBM Security
lead Marc van Zadelhoff and Resilient Systems CEO John Bruce as they announced an acquisition. (Terms of the deal have not been released, although one report suggested that IBM is spending “more than $100 million” on the firm.) Bruce Schneier, Resilient’s tech chief and outspoken voice in the crypto community, told me he’s very excited about the new gig’s prospects—though “big blue” will have to be okay with his frequent and forceful soapboxing, he said. Nodding in that direction, van Zadelhoff told me the decision to purchase Resilient was part acquihire.
More conference and cybersecurity news below. But first, test your knowledge of the Apple
versus FBI case by taking this quick quiz, designed by my colleague Kia Kokalitcheva and yours truly. Show us what you’ve got.