​Can fiction inform reality – a look into CSI:Cyber

During a very different keynote panel at RSA Conference 2016, RSAC Curator Sandra Toms interviewed “CSI: Cyber” show creator Anthony E. Zuiker, and cast members Charley Koontz (Daniel Krumitz) and Shad Moss (Brody Nelson).

The panel discussed how they develop the show’s plot, how they respond to any industry criticism and what they hope to convey to the average viewer who may not be familiar with the nuts and bolts of information security

With over 200,000 open cyber security jobs open in the US today, that number set to increase ten-fold by 2020. So getting people interested and engaged in defending cybercrime is very important.

Zuiker told the audience that increased acceptance in the media that cybercrime was a real threat. That gave the producers an opportunity to explore “the next generation” of crime on the small screen.

Of course, with TV shows needing to close a story line in 42 minutes, one of the criticisms of the show is that “you can press a button and solve a crime” – with some courts having incorrect expectations of how investigations and enforcement actually take place.

Koontz and Moss clearly enjoy a great rapport both on and off the screen. With Moss’ character being reformed “black hat” – there’s some concern he is glorifying the dark side of hacking. But Zuiker says it’s a reflection of reality with law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, using criminals to support investigations.

With women comprising 60% of the show’s audience, Zuiker says it’s important to ensure the story lines portray reality within the bounds of a good story. So, in the first season, there’s been attention paid to phishing and other everyday threats that affect everyone and not just large organisations.

Moss told the audience that he had been hacked with his credit card accessed illegally with thousands of dollars being spent on the other side of the country. Like many, he learned the “it can’t happen to me” lesson the hard way.

Adding to the story, Zuiker noted he had received email from Jerry Bruckheimer offering him Viagra!

Read more: ​The week in security: Apple-FBI encryption stoush dominates RSA; Aussie execs less hands-on than APAC peers

However, he also noted law enforcement agencies have asked him to encourage viewers, through the show, to carry out basic cyber hygiene such as keeping their systems patched.

The impact on recruitment is expected to be high. Before CSI:Las Vegas aired, that city’s police department had just 10 applicants per year for what was then called field services. Today, they receive over 50,000 applications per year to work on CSI.

With upcoming episodes focussing on topics such as what happens to the psyche of online content moderators who are exposed to the worst material people post and a teenager who hacks five major intelligence agencies, the show plans to continue deal with social issues.

As an interesting aside, Toms asked Zuiker about the use of The Who’s music on the shows opening credits. Each airing of the show deliver’s The Who US$17,500.

Read more: Most cybersecurity breaches go unreported, uninsured despite executive concern: Barclays

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Charley Koontz (Daniel Krumitz)#RSACSandra TomsCSI:CyberRSA Conference 2016CSO AustraliaAnthony E. Zuiker

More about FBIRSA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Anthony Caruana

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place