Frank Abagnale closes RSA Conference APAC keynote

Summary:The man who inspired the movie "Catch Me If You Can" recalls his crimes as a confident trickster, and expresses gratitude for being given work as a security consultant at the Federal Bureau Investigation.

Frank Abagnale closes RSA Conference Asia-Pacific 2013 in Singapore (Source: Michael Lee/ZDNet)

SINGAPORE--Frank Abagnale, security consultant and fraud expert working for the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), says he is grateful for the chance to turn his life around from his former profession as a trickster. 

Abagnale, who is also the subject of the book, movie, and broadway musical "Catch Me If You Can", delivered the closing keynote at RSA Conference Asia-Pacific 2013 here Thursday.

He had assumed various false identities including a pilot, doctor, U.S. Bureau of Prisons Agent, and a lawyer, and had forged cheques for a living. He then served prison terms in France, Sweden, and the United States before being recruited by the FBI as a security consultant to help catch fraudsters.

"It's not so much the people you impersonated, it's the crime you perpetrated," Abagnale said, noting he still stays awake at night thinking about the crimes he committed in the past because "some things cannot be forgotten".

While some may call him a "genius", he said he does not consider himself one because he only broke the law to survive. He attributed his current success not to skills, money, and professionalism, but the second chance that he was given by the FBI and his family.

"A real man loves his wife, and places his family as the most important thing in life. Nothing has brought me more peace and content in life than simply being a good husband and father," Abagnale said.

Topics: Security


Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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