“There are three things you aren’t supposed to do in a keynote: bring kids on stage, do live demos, and involve wild animals,” he told SDxCentral last week. “I’m going to do two of them.”
No, there weren’t any trained sea lions onstage for the keynote, titled “Talking ‘Bout My Next Generation.” To highlight the extension of a grant Juniper is making to Code.org, which the educational non-profit will use to expand AP-level high school course offerings in network security, Hoff enlisted surprise guest Rueben Paul, the 9-year-old whiz-kid CEO of Prudent Games.
The plan was for Paul to hack Hoff’s terminal live on stage using a spearfishing attack.
“It’s kind of riffing off the expectations that people have for keynotes at RSA,” Hoff explained prior to the keynote. “Some vendor blowhard bores you to death with something that doesn’t have a call to action.”
After delivering a faux-blathering preamble, Hoff announced he would present the next generation of security, pointing to a seven-foot server rack draped with a dust cloth. He whipped off the cloth to reveal young Paul.
After some cutesy patter, Paul launched his demo attack on Hoff’s laptop, and that’s where things went wrong. Though Paul remained cool as a cucumber, either Hoff failed to click the right malicious links, or the code failed. Hoff remained embarrassingly uncompromised.
Recovering quickly, Hoff encouraged the audience to get involved in social and educational causes such as Code.org.
“I swear this worked perfectly about 200 times,” he said of the failed demo. “This will go down as the most epic fail in RSA keynote history.”
UPDATE: Chris Hoff offers video evidence that the demo did succeed earlier: