KB4-CON User Conference. PHOTO: Jennifer Jewitt

Phishtales From The World’s Largest Security Awareness User Conference

Patching employees and other cutting edge strategies from KnowBe4’s 2019 KB4-CON event

Gotham Sharma, Field Correspondent

Northport, N.Y. — May 14, 2019

More than 700 professionals representing a variety of industries made the pilgrimage to Orlando, Fla. last week for KB4-CON, the world’s largest security awareness user conference.

Organized by the award-winning security awareness training company, KnowBe4, the KB4-CON conference provided attendees the opportunity to learn about best practices in cybersecurity while networking with their peers. The three-day event brought together technology and security executives, program managers and security practitioners from a number of sectors, including academia, financial services, government, and healthcare.

KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman kicked off the event with an “Ask Me Anything” style presentation where he responded to questions regarding the company’s phishing simulation products and the cybersecurity threat landscape at large. Last year, the Clearwater, Fla. based company was ranked no. 2 on the list of “500 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Companies to watch in 2018” and was one of only two organizations in the Security Awareness Training category.

In a conversation with Cybercrime Magazine, KnowBe4’s CISO Brian Jack commented that providing ongoing security awareness training was akin to “patching” employees — a clever use of the term, as patching traditionally refers to the practice of updating software in order to address known threats or vulnerabilities. Other conference attendees shared similar comments, focusing on the idea that the financial, reputational, and business consequences of a potential data breach or cyberattack were too great to be ignored.



In addition to taking part in dedicated learning labs and gaining hands-on experience with KnowBe4 products — which are designed to mitigate the element of human error in security— conference attendees spent time in breakout sessions where they were able to learn about a wide range of topics from renowned subject matter experts.

In her keynote entitled “Deep Fakes: A World of New Realities,” Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos discussed the potential applications and scientific advantages, as well as concerns of AI-driven techniques for synthesizing human voice and images, known as deep fakes.

Apollo Robbins, “The Gentleman Thief,” demonstrated deception and social engineering while demystifying neuroscience concepts and explaining how to develop resilience through awareness.

Kevin Mitnick drew a large crowd as he showed off the skills that made him “The World’s Most Famous Hacker” and proceeded to “steal” the identity of a willing audience member.

Chief Evangelist and Strategy Officer Perry Carpenter centered his presentation around the behavioral and psychological components that are necessary for the implementation of any effective security awareness program.

And lastly, futurist Thomas Frey gave us a glimpse into the world he believes we will all soon be living in and the technologies that will drive (quite literally, in some cases) our future.

The diversity of sectors represented at KB4-CON served as a critical reminder that cyber criminals do not discriminate — but rather that these types of attacks are often crimes of opportunity. Security awareness training is simply another tool in the arsenal against cybercrime.

“During the 2019 KB4-CON, dozens of customers walked up to me and thanked me for what they called a world-class event,” says KnowBe’s Sjouwerman. “Someone said that last week they had been to Microsoft and IBM conferences, and this was as good or better. Another one rated it as A+, which made me a very happy camper. The team did an awesome job putting this together.”

When asked about KB4-CON 2020, Mitnick commented that he hopes to see an even larger turnout next year, and that he was particularly excited about next year’s speaker lineup.

Cybercrime Magazine is excited to bring readers it’s exclusive “Dishing On Phishing” monthly series beginning in June — featuring interviews and video clips with CISOs and security leaders we met at KnowBe4’s security awareness extravaganza.

Gotham Sharma is a Cybercrime Magazine contributor, and a cybersecurity educator, investor and mentor.



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