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Looking Back at What Clicked at RSA Conference 2019

Michael O’Connell

The PAN security team is back from the 2019 RSA Conference in San Francisco, and team members have all kinds of positive stories to tell. We had more than a dozen clients attending, all hosting an impressive mix of activities at the show. After months of careful planning, our clients were front and center in the media, across social and featured in speaking sessions, driving industry discussion in the year ahead.

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Key takeaways from the event? One has to be tied to the general level of activity on social. There were about 70,000 Tweets during show itself – a couple of ticks higher than last year (68,100). But the number of potential impressions skyrocketed during the 2019 show – 1.6 billion compared to 835,000 in 2018. This tells us that the people tweeting about the 2019 show have more followers and are, on the whole, more influential.

Another key takeaway is that hot topics of conversation aligned more closely with big news items announced at the show than with topics that were being discussed leading up to RSA. In the weeks prior, #Hacking and #Hackers were featured prominently. The most common hashtags used during the show were related to the conference itself (#RSAC2019, etc.), general industry topics (#cybersecurity, #security). #Hackers and #Hacking fell out of the top 10. They were replaced by hashtags like #Ghidra (No. 9 with 2.3K Tweets) and #AI (No.10 with 2K Tweets).

Ghidra was huge news at RSA. On Tuesday, the first full day of the conference, the NSA demonstrated its advanced hacking tool that it has made available on an open-source basis. Ghidra isn’t brand new. The NSA has been using the technology internally for about a decade. The agency announced the tool’s release back in January, 10 months after details dribbled out in a WikiLeaks post. But at RSA, being the grand stage that it is, the NSA chose to unveil the tool during a talk by cybersecurity advisor Rob Joyce, and make the software reverse engineering toolkit available publicly that same day.

Back in 2018, some of the top hashtags used during RSA included #GDPR (No. 8) and #Cloud (No. 9). Both fell out of the top 10 this year.

Other takeaways? Judging by the popularity of the Ghidra announcement, it was no surprise to see the NSA (@NSAgov) as one of the influencers with the most mentions during the show. Additional influencers who moved the needle included A10 Networks (@A10Networks), which talked a lot about 5G; Tamara McCleary (@TamaraMcCleary), a tech futurist and influencer in topics such as AI and IoT; Dez Blanchfield (@dez_blanchfield), a telco, mobile influencer; and Shira Rubinoff (@Shirastweet), a cybersecurity and blockchain influencer.

We expected a busy RSA, and we weren’t disappointed. Thanks for following along with us. For more details about RSA and other security topics, check out PAN Security.

What did you think were the big trends at RSA? Let’s continue the conversation @PANcomm.

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Topics: Industry Expertise

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