RSA CONFERENCE 2014 -- San Francisco -- One in five IT professionals who attended the RSA Conference here this past week said they would hire Edward Snowden, but fewer than half of them are convinced the NSA overstepped its bounds in domestic spying programs.
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The NSA and Snowden loomed large here this past week, both in conference sessions and exhibit-floor conversations. A rival conference organized by privacy advocates upset over allegations that RSA Security had entered into a private pact with the NSA to use weak encryption technology in its products ran next door to the RSA Conference yesterday. A handful of speakers withdrew their talks from the conference in protest, but that didn't seem to affect attendance of RSA, which was around 25,000 people.
Thycotic Software conducted an anonymous survey of IT pros here, and some 48 percent said the NSA had overreached in its programs that were exposed in the Snowden document leaks. Some 52 percent said the NSA did not overstep; of those, 21 percent said the government needs to gather data on citizens' communications in order to prevent terrorist acts, while 31 percent said they are torn with the issue and worry about privacy.
Three-quarters of the respondents said those who boycotted the conference had a right to do so, 17 percent said those who did so were grandstanding, and 9 percent said they considered boycotting the conference as well.
About 24 percent said employees have abused privileged access credentials, and 37 percent said it's likely that their users have done so. About 20 percent said those credentials are not abused in the organization. Meanwhile, 19 percent said they would hire Edward Snowden if they had the opportunity.
"Regardless of where you stand on the issue, the attention around Edward Snowden's alleged disclosures last year has raised major concerns worldwide around the risk posed by insiders who have access to privileged account passwords," said Jonathan Cogley, founder and CEO of Thycotic Software.
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