Recorded future CEO on the journalistic goal of a cybersecurity company

Somerville, Mass. – The cyber security company Recorded Future has around 1,400 customers and enjoys a good reputation. But the threat intelligence business wasn’t enough for CEO Christopher Ahlberg. Two years ago, he founded an online cybersecurity news service called The Record.

The Associated Press spoke to the 53-year-old Swede about the site’s creation and plans. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: What made you decide to start? The recording?

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

(Bloomberg news agency emerged from an initial financial data provider delivered on proprietary terminals).


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

A: Most media writing about cyber is very IT focused. We want to bring it closer to where decision-makers are, where politics is made. The ransomware scourge and now the war in Ukraine have boosted demand. We publish directly on our website – without ads or paywall. We also publish on our own service for paying customers where the stories can be correlated with our research and security raw data.

Q: Your journalists have worked for The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio, among others. You’ve grown with funding from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm, 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 entity. The editor, Adam Janofsky, never asked me for a story and I never told him what to write. He would leave if I did. I think we hired people with integrity. They write about our competitors just as our competitors routinely write about Recorded Future research—sometime they get exclusives. I don’t think anybody can take a story that we made and say, ‘This is in US interests’ or ‘This is in British interests’.


Q: I’ve seen complaints on social media about verbatim interviews The Record has conducted with cybercriminals – who can make outrageous claims – that lacked caveat and context.

A: I think you can argue that we gain information from interviews like this and if you’re new you have to try to do things a bit differently. Journalists also interview terrorists. I understand that there can be risks. But these folks aren’t the easiest to reach. And we know these interviews are read by the right people.

Q: How many journalists does The Record employ 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 both agree that we would like better international coverage. (former NPR journalist) Dina Temple-Raston runs a podcast. As for video, there is no rush. You don’t want to do too many things at once.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/24/recorded-future-ceo-on-cybersecurity-firms-journalistic-aim/ Recorded future CEO on the journalistic goal of a cybersecurity company

Sarah Y. Kim

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