Recorded Future CEO on cybersecurity firm’s journalistic aim

Recorded Future CEO on cybersecurity firm’s journalistic aim


SOMERVILLE, Massachusetts (AP) – The cybersecurity company Recorded Future has about 1,400 customers and enjoys considerable respect. But the threat intelligence business was not enough for CEO Christopher Ahlberg. Two years ago, he created an online cybersecurity news service called The Record.

The Associated Press spoke with the 53-year-old Swede about the genesis and plans of the site. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: What made you decide to release The Record?

A: Michael Bloomberg’s book “Bloomberg by Bloomberg.” I must have read it five times. We want to build a Bloomberg terminal for cybersecurity. We want all the data, all the analytics, all the research, all the news in one place. Thus, a threat intelligence person, a government analyst, a security generalist can have the best information at their fingertips.

(The Bloomberg news agency emerged from what was initially a financial data provider delivered on proprietary terminals).


Q: What information gap do you think needs to be filled?

A: Most outlets that write about cybernetics are very IT-focused. We would like to bring it closer to where decision makers are, where policies are made. The scourge of ransomware and now the war in Ukraine have increased demand. We post directly to our website, with no ads or pay wall. We also publish on our own paid customer service, where stories can be cross-linked to our raw security research and data.

Q: Your journalists have worked for media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. You grew up with funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA and Google, and you work with the national security community. Can readers trust The Record to be editorially independent?

A: The record is a separate unit. The editor, Adam Janofsky, never asked me about a story and never told him what to write. He would leave if he did. I think we hired people with integrity. They write about our competitors, just as our competitors usually write about Recorded Future research, sometimes getting exclusives. I don’t think anyone can take a story we’ve made and be able to say ‘This serves the interests of the US’ or ‘This serves the interests of the British’.

Q: I’ve seen complaints on social media about text interviews that The Record has done with cybercriminals, who can make outrageous statements, without warnings and context.

A: I think you can argue that we get intelligence with these interviews, and when you’re new you have to try to do things a little differently. Journalists also interview terrorists. I understand that there may be risks. But these people are not the easiest to reach. And we know that these interviews are read by the right people.

Q: How many journalists does The Record have and do you plan to grow? Will there be a video component?

A: There are six or seven, depending on how you count. Adam and I agree that we would like better international coverage. (NPR Experimentist) Dina Temple-Raston directs a podcast. As for the video, there’s no rush. You don’t want to do too many things at once.



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