Security Marketing Frenzy: 13 Scenes That Show The RSA Conference Is Crazier Than Ever

Live On The Show Floor

Every year, walking the expo hall at the RSA security conference is a feast for the senses. There are carnival barkers, games, prize giveaways, and people in crazy costumes. Sometimes there are also snacks and beverages.

But underneath the wild and fun atmosphere is a serious message: Security threats are multiplying every year, and if you think your corporate network and employee mobile devices are safe, think again.

Walking the RSA expo hall, one will quickly learn that today's threats are child's play compared to the ones looming on the horizon. The idea, of course, is to spur spending and get customers educated on the latest and greatest ways of stopping these threats.

This year, CRN walked the RSA expo halls — there are two, and they are huge — in search of sights that make this storied conference fun. Here are 13 examples of ones we feel were the most interesting.

Flying Saucers And Security

AlienVault, which landed $52 million in late-stage venture funding last August, presumably used a decent-size chunk of it on its amazing expo hall space at RSA. The theme was Area 51, the top secret U.S. government complex where UFO enthusiasts believe remnants of a flying saucer that crashed in the New Mexico desert in 1947 are stored.

Tenable Network Security's Arcade Theme

Tenable Network Security, a Columbia, Md.-based vendor that develops the widely used Nessus vulnerability scanner, has taken a "gamification" approach to getting people interested in its technology.

Using a classic arcade game theme, Tenable Network Security invited attendees to play its cool Arc-Man pinball game, with the theme "Cover your assets with context and clarity and take decisive action."

What the Duck?

Sometimes, the simplest humor is the funniest humor. So it was with Black Duck Software, a Burlington, Mass.-based security vendor that focuses on risks associated with open-source software. These T-shirts were so popular that Black Duck's expo hall floor space remained bustling for the duration of the RSA show.

Take A Photo With Giant Robot, Win iPad

Malwarebytes, a San Jose, Calif.-based vendor fresh off landing $50 million in Series B funding in January, brought its giant security threat-fighting robot mascot to RSA this year, and attendees couldn't get enough of it.

The vendor ran a contest at RSA where attendees who took a photo of themselves with the big fella and tweeted it could win an iPad Air. Not that anyone needed any incentive to capture a photo with this amazing specimen of robotic excellence.

Security Superheroes

Network security intelligence vendor FireMon, Overland Park, Kan., also used a superhero theme at its RSA expo hall booth. It featured the characters "Enforcer," "Eagle Eye" and "Responder."

The idea is that keeping networks secure is tough work, something that is well out of the reach of any normal person with ordinary capabilities -- unless, of course, you're using FireMon's technology, in which case you're in a much better position.

Colorful Security

WebRay, a Beijing-based application security vendor that businesses in China use to protect sensitive data, attracted RSA attendees with staffers wearing colorful costumes in the Beijing Opera style. WebRay was one of more than 20 vendors from China that showed off technology at the conference.

Weapons For The Cyber Hunter

Acuity Solutions, the vendor behind the BluVector network security appliances, touted its new machine-learning-based malware detection technology with a theme that sort of reminded us of Robocop, only less friendly.

At RSA, Acuity showed off version 2.0 of BluVector, which includes what the vendor is calling a form of artificial intelligence that lets the appliances "learn" about the threats their companies are facing on a continual basis.

Be A Security Hero

Cloud security vendor Radware gave RSA attendees the chance to be a "Cloud Security Hero," which it's safe to say is an opportunity that most who streamed into the packed expo hall never thought they'd get. Attendees could also win a GoPro Hero4 video camera at the booth, an offer that attracted a steady stream of curious onlookers throughout the show.

Get Your Popcorn Ready

Illumio, a security startup that has raised more than $142 million in funding and is backed by top Silicon Valley firms, is getting its popcorn ready, both literally and figuratively. The startup showed off its Adaptive Security Platform, which can be set up to secure individual workloads and also encrypts data.

The Bad Guys Know Everything

Venafi, a vendor that bills itself as "the Immune System for the Internet" (and has trademarked the term) had some scary signage at its RSA conference booth. Venafi is making the point that securing keys and certificates is hugely important because they can be abused by attackers.

Venafi's technology continually monitors keys and certificates to ensure that they're trusted and blocks ones that aren't.

Meanwhile, at the AlienVault Booth …

We just couldn't get enough of AlienVault's cool Area 51 theme. At the vendor's A-51 Bar at RSA, attendees could get souvenirs, cold drinks and even sign up for alien tours. No other vendor at RSA was offering alien tours, as far as we could tell.

Analytics In Graphical Form

Data analysis is one of the hardest things to explain to the uninitiated -- try explaining it to your neighbor sometime. Security analytics is hard to explain too, but at RSA, vendor Securonix gave it a shot with this visual depiction of a kid with all kinds of wires connected to his head.

The idea was to show how Securonix's Security Intelligence Platform is good at monitoring security events, as well as identity and access data, to detect attackers from both inside and outside a company.

Dog In The Security Fight

Cryptzone, a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of network security technology, used intimidating Doberman pinscher imagery to show just how seriously it approaches the task of keeping attackers at bay. Its data loss prevention technology ensures that sensitive files stay where they're supposed to -- or else this dog gets involved, and no one wants that.