2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Humans Matter Most in Cyber Security, Not Firewalls

Written by Megan Simpson | January 31, 2014

At SXSW 2014, learn about humans and cyber security from Chris Dufor

Chris Dufour admits that he can’t wait to talk about his passion at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival in March. The Director of Operations at the Virginia-based White Canvas Group, he will lead a panel titled "Humans Matter Most in Cyber Security, Not Firewalls". This session boasts a very impressive lineup of speakers -- collectively, he and his fellow panelists have trained more than 100 organizations and more than 10,000 people in cyber security and modern digital influence. Connect with Dufour on Twitter at @Du4 and learn more about his views by reading this installment of the SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight.

SXSW: Please tell us what we can expect from your panel at SXSW.
Dufour: Cyber security harkens to mind the hardening of networks, the deployment of code, and the fast typing fingers of armies of hackers and anti-hackers, all mixed into a war-like ecosystem of digital penetration and defense. What most people forget, however, is that there is a critical vulnerability to any cyber security plan, network or software architecture that can never be 100% secured: the human being. This panel will explore the human domain in cyber security by discussing how humans hack other humans to penetrate a network. Panelists will compare principles of social engineering, digital influence, and the tradecraft employed by different adversarial entities to penetrate networks both social and hardware-based. Panelists will also discuss why adversaries attack organizations and humans using social engineering. Finally, panelists will offer recommendations for securing humans against socially engineered cyber attacks.

SXSW: What type of SXSW participants want to see your session? Why should they attend?
Dufour: We envision an audience of hackers, coders, and cyber enthusiasts. However, we're hoping we get a good turnout from business owners/leaders, large and small, who want to learn more about the importance of humans in securing their organizations from cyber attack. We will offer tangible ideas about holistic cyber security, ideas that people probably have not considered before. Registrants can take these ideas back to their own organizations and begin thinking about how best to secure their own unique crowd of humans against attacks.

SXSW: Have you spoken about this topic previously?
Dufour: Yes. My company, White Canvas Group, and our partners who will be joining us on this panel are considered industry experts on this topic. I personally work in training organizations how to spot telltale signs of emerging threats that can lead to cyber attacks. I'm the lead trainer for our company's SEcureCog cyber security training program, and I'm specifically responsible for training reputational security. I've trained 20 organizations with WCG alone and several more in subjects like social media marketing, digital futures and digital influence.

SXSW: If attendees are unfamiliar with this topic, will they be able to follow the panel?
Dufour: Our panel discussion is designed to be understood by anyone. We purposely break down complex ideas behind security and reframe the discussion so everyone can absorb the lessons. This is critical because understanding cyber security starts with every human being in an organization, and we have to ensure the best possible absorption of our speaking topics at every client engagement we undertake.

SXSW: Have you been to SXSW before? What’s your favorite part of the festival?
Dufour: Yes. My favorite aspect of SXSWi is the unpredictability of the experience. Every year, I make a schedule and I never adhere to it. I always end up getting dragged into parties, meetings, panels, and other events along the way.

SXSW: Not necessarily related to your topic at SXSW, what was your favorite movie from the past year?
Dufour: My favorite movie from the last year was Man of Steel. I don't care what anybody says, that was a damn AWESOME Superman movie.

SXSW: In your opinion, who is the most innovative person in the world today?
Dufour: The most innovative person in the world today is Chris Hardwick, creator of the Nerdist empire. I think what he's done with multimedia content in terms of creating fun and turning it into a business is amazing. I'll check out anything Nerdist does because of that.

SXSW: What do you think will be the biggest trend at SXSW Interactive?
Dufour: I think the biggest trend for SXSWi 2014 is "NOW WHAT?!" So many people are watching developments in social media businesses and wondering where the future is. Is it a new social network? I don't think so. Is it new tech? Maybe. The connected consumer? Maybe. I don't know, I just feel there is a lot of uncertainty about WHAT'S NEXT and that's why people come to SXSW.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, vista the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Humans Matter Most in CyberSecurity, Not Firewalls” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014. To see the full list of sessions related to cyber security at SXSW, click here.