RSA 2019: How Games Can Meet Infosec

Lately, information security (infosec) and games have been starting to inch a bit close to together in the large digital sandbox they both play in.

Take infosec solutions provider McAfee, for example. The Santa Clara-based company has recently been beating the drum about that gradually increasing Venn diagram-style overlap of infosec and games. In mid-2018, McAfee put out a report describing how gamers make ideal candidates in cybersecurity, because of gamers easy embrace of competitiveness and inherent understanding of “gamification.”. Then, in early 2019, McAfee, published another games-and-infosec focused paper. This time the report was from the consumer perspective, discussing how online security is a major concern for PC gamers and how some online habits might put some of these gamers at risk.

Besides reports, conferences are another way to talk about influential topics driving an industry. For example, discussing all aspects of Europe’s comprehensive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules that affect the data handling and data privacy, including those of gamers too, will be a big part of the show’s conversation this year.

More About RSA?

RSA Conferences are a multinational series of conferences and expos, which focus on the vast ecosystem of security. Granted, RSA is not likely a show the majority of gamers would be interested in. But, some game developers and publishers, especially from IT departments; professional gamers; some technology and financial transaction partners; hackers; career-switchers would be interested in what RSA offers. In fact, at last year’s RSA, game designer Jane McGonigal spoke about how games impact the future of everything, including security.

RSA’s North American conference, held in San Francisco, attracted over 42,000 attendees in 2018. (For scale, there were about 28,000 attendees from the most recent Game Developers Conference.) Coming up next: RSA 2019 will again be held in San Francisco, this year from March 4-8.

RSA for gamers

Even though most of the content at RSA overlaps with game development and gamers (like those GDPR data privacy rules) because the infosec field touches almost every business, there are a few talks and companies present that will be flying the “game” flag.

On the sprawling expo floor, look for companies using game mechanics, like security education providers, Security Mentor and Inspired eLearning among several such companies Other companies, like the aforementioned McAfee, will be showing off security solutions for gamers, like McAfee Gamer Security. Still other companies, like Cybereason, A10, and many others will be showcasing solutions using technologies shared in common with some game development, like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and so on. In short, you won’t lack for relevant companies to chat with if any of these topics are interesting to you.

CyberSmart Parents Education Seminar—Keeping Your Family Safe Online

This seminar looks like a panel designed with parents, who want to be aware of their kids’ online habits, in mind. Playing games safely are specifically discussed during a session in the morning and afternoon of this all-day seminar. But there are other tips for online safety that are covered too. Notably, this seminar is included among the “expo plus” access content.

The Emerging Grey App Threat: Mobile Kids Apps Are Gateway to Parents

Francis Dewing, CEO of Rubica, discusses how mobile gaming apps might seem harmless but are being used as a gateway to other devices and more sensitive information. Like the prior talk, this event is also offered as content under the “Expo
Plus header.

Are You a Secure Coding Champion?

In this three-hour session, which requires a full conference pass, participants compete with each other, using different computer languages, in a “gamified” environment to become a “Secure Code Warrior. This might be a great exercise to compete in if you have a programming background but the gamer instinct to compete for the win.

How to Attend

There’s plenty of options to attend RSA at different levels of engagement, but if you primarily want access to the expo floor and some of the free content, the Expo Pass option — mentioned earlier — is your best bet. While the official site does not offer the pass for free, many RSA free expo pass codes can be found online.

Whether you’re attending because you wonder the best way to keep malware from your child’s phone or need to figure out a gamified security learning solution for your Fortune 1000 game development company, RSA likely has the education or the solution in their corner of that big digital sandbox.

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