Reformed Con Man Frank Abagnale Now Works to Plug IT Security Holes
NEWS ANALYSIS: Reformed con man and forger Frank Abagnale, Jr. who was portrayed in the movie "Catch Me If You Can," now teaches security pros how to find and fix IT security vulnerabilities.RESTON, Va.—Frank Abagnale, Jr. seemed almost disappointed as we chatted about the low level of sophistication he's observed in the system breaches he's investigated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In reality, the breaches he's investigated weren't the result of some brilliant hack, but rather because someone created a vulnerability that a hacker exploited. "Someone in every breach did something they weren’t supposed to do," he explained. If Abagnale’s name seems familiar, it's because his life was depicted in the Steven Spielberg movie, "Catch Me if You Can." Abagnale was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. He captivated an audience of several hundred IT security pros with tales about his life as a con man and forger at the Raytheon Cyber Security Summit here on Dec. 2. However, for the past 38 years, he has worked full time as an unpaid consultant for the federal government and other law enforcement agencies, primarily the FBI. It was the FBI that got him out of prison if he agreed to work for the agency and he's stayed with them ever since. However, he makes a living from speaking engagements, books he has written and some corporate consulting.
These days, Abagnale works with the FBI on cyber-security investigations including the Target breach, and every other breach since then. He also consults with the federal government in the design of secure software and systems.