Frankie… who? No April Fool’s joke: Francis (“Frankie”) Archibald Keyes, Esquire, a fictitious figure you likely have never heard of, enjoys significantly higher trust among IT professionals than most real-life cybersecurity vendors or experts, according to new survey results from this year’s RSA Conference in San Francisco.

Of those surveyed in our Cybersecurity Approval Poll at RSA, a total of 88% stated that they trusted the made-up Mr. Keyes “much more”, “slightly more” or “about the same” as “other cybersecurity vendors and experts.”

If these results don’t instill much confidence in the industry’s ability to protect its customers from data breaches, malware attacks, and online election meddling, that is the whole point.

Frankie Keyes, a self-proclaimed Mr. Fix-it played by a professional actor, served as the face of F.A.K.E. Security, a make-believe company (website, Twitter handle and all) made up by Authentic8.

Fake Security, Real Survey

F.A.K.E. Security had its own booth at RSAC in March (for the second year in a row), and we’re happy to report that Frankie Keyes continued his unstoppable rise to fame by peddling his Ultimate Cybersecurity Toolkit: Duct tape and WD-40.

Frankie Keyes at F.A.K.E. Security booth at RSAC 2019. Photo: Authentic8

Our - only half-joking - comment on the industry’s internal and external credibility problem seems to have hit a nerve, judging by the results of a short Cybersecurity Approval Poll we conducted at the booth:

Asked which statement most accurately describes how they feel about the security of their enterprise, the most selected answer was: “We know we are vulnerable in key areas, but we respond quickly to close the gaps as they become known.”

While the vast majority of cybersecurity solutions have not stopped data breaches and web-borne exploits, 48% of respondents would expect a real “ultimate cybersecurity toolkit” to prevent most attacks, threats, and malware from ever reaching their endpoints or network in the first place.

Asked which applications put their organization most at risk, web browsers came in first (34%), followed by email clients (32%).

Least Trusted Application: the Web Browser

In all seriousness, we find that latter result positive and encouraging. It means that the web browser is ranking now as the application least trusted by IT security professionals.*

It confirms, once again, what we’ve been suspecting for a long time: that compensating for the inherent vulnerabilities of locally installed browsers with point solutions, such as antivirus software or AI-based threat detection, has been as effective as Frankie Keyes’ huckster approach to cybersecurity.

These point solutions are symptomatic for a “reactive approach to cybersecurity” and have become modern IT’s version of Duct tape, Authentic8 co-founder and CEO Scott Petry pointed out in a statement.

“There has been an unhealthy cycle of web-borne exploits and data breaches, solutions promised, technologies purchased, leading to more incidents,” he said. “Yet it hasn’t lowered the breach volume.”

Market research shows the cybersecurity industry grew at roughly 10% last year (estimated: $ 114 billion) and is expected to exceed $124 billion in 2019. “The FAKE Security booth at RSA was our way of poking fun at the absurdity of repeating the failed approach over and over again and expecting different results,” said Petry.

“The survey responses suggest that many IT security professionals feel the same way.”

How to Break the Cycle of FUD

Fed up with fake security and the cycle of fear, uncertainty and doubt?

Try Silo, Authentic8’s secure cloud browser.

No DW-40 or Duct tape involved on our end. As for your end, hey, whatever works for you... - it would not impact Silo, which is delivered offsite as a centrally managed service on our servers.

Silo isolates and processes all web content in the cloud. No web-borne exploits can touch the endpoints when users access the web. Try Silo here.

* who visited the F.A.K.E. Security booth at RSA and took the survey.