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Information security makes the silver screen

Information security hit the big screen — well, not so big screen — with the debut of Fortify Software’s documentary, “The New Face of Cybercrime” Thursday in San Francisco.

Billed as a “world premier,” the showing of the short film was in a small, private theater inside a movie complex, and attended by about 130 people. The slick film, which features security experts like Marcus Ranum, Gary McGraw and Howard Schmidt, along with corporate executives and an ominous soundtrack, is a basic primer for the general public on information security.

Director Frederic Golding told the audience during a panel discussion after the showing that the film is intended to generate awareness of information security threats for the masses (although the film did make a point to convey the importance of application security — Fortify’s business). “To a lot of you here, it probably seemed very simple,” he said.

Still, the audience of mostly IT security professionals were harsh critics. “You didn’t make it scary enough,” a network security engineer told the filmmakers during a Q&A after the panel. The movie touched on issues like cross-site scripting but should have delved deeper, he said, adding, “The only way to get people to open their eyes is through shock.” Others said the film didn’t discuss enough of the end user experience, or show how laws haven’t caught up to modern cybercrime.

Golding and Roger Thornton, Fortify founder and CTO and the film’s executive producer, took turns defending the film and both said they would have liked to include interviews with cybercriminals but were warned by law enforcement that it was too dangerous.

At a reception afterwards, Craig Rosenberg, a network engineer at Serena Software, said the movie was good but didn’t go into as much depth as he’d like. Some details on what end users can do to protect their PCs might have been good, he said.

No word on a sequel, and there’s no Hollywood premier slated for the film — private screenings are scheduled for later this month in New York and London.

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