Frank Abagnale, the famed fraudster turned cybersecurity expert for the FBI, was the keynote speaker at today’s annual Louisiana Association of Business and Industry luncheon.
Abagnale became one of the FBI’s most-wanted criminals before the age of 21, and later became the subject of a Stephen Spielberg movie, Catch Me If You Can. Since serving years in French, Swedish and U.S. jails for his crimes, Abagnale has become a decorated FBI agent and instructor for going on 44 years.
“It’s a burden I live with every day,” Abagnale, now 71, says. He’s continued to work for the FBI for more than 35 years since his required service expired.
As Louisiana continues to face cybersecurity attacks, Abagnale’s speech was advertised as a timely talk about the issue—though Abagnale’s speech largely centered on his early life of crime and the life he’s built since, valuing family, faith and country above all else.
Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke briefly at the beginning of the luncheon, however, touching on the state’s cybersecurity efforts among a broad range of state issues.
Edwards said protecting public and private computer systems from cyberattacks was going to be a priority this year, given the rising number of attacks made against the state, schools and local governments.
“We know this is the new normal, not only here but around the world and certainly all around the country,” Edwards said. “But I also want the new normal in Louisiana to be the highest level of cybersecurity prevention anywhere in the nation.”