'MythBusters' Star Adam Savage: How To Bust Security Myths

Adam Savage
Adam Savage of MythBusters addresses Intel Security's FOCUS 15 conference in Las Vegas.

Security is full of myths, and MythBusters TV star and scientist Adam Savage took the stage at Intel Security's FOCUS 15 in Las Vegas to help partners answer them.

Since the TV show launched in 2006 on Discovery, Savage and co-host Jamie Hyneman have been busting some of the biggest - and most ridiculous - myths, using science and a little creative engineering. The show has proved extremely popular over its 14 seasons (The current season will be the show's last.) and has been nominated for six Emmy awards.  

When asked by Richard Steranka, Intel Security's senior vice president of global channel operations, what advice he had for partners, whom Steranka called the "MythBusters of security," Savage advised them to question every idea and implementation as hard as possible. In doing that, he said partners will be able to find the best ideas and flaws in design.

That's an approach that's used on MythBusters to improve safety protocol, he said. Savage said he, Hyneman and the crew try to imagine the "worst possible, perfect storm of awful circumstances" that could occur when solving a myth, then work to answer that problem with a proactive solution. For example, they might ask what would happen if shards from an explosion shoot over their barrier, then address that concern by adding a protective roof.  

"It is an ongoing process of trying to imagine always what the worst-case scenario is, and once you've posited something you have to answer it. ... But, for safety, there is no substitution for answering the difficulties that you pose," Savage said.

Savage said some partners might think that takes away from the glamour of the solution, but he said it actually makes it seem more dramatic for viewers, or customers in the case of partners. By incorporating safety procedures into every episode, or every sales call, Savage said that underscores the importance and life-and-death nature of the situation.

"We really want to make it clear that we are taking this very, very seriously," Savage said.

From there, Savage said partners will be able to craft a very compelling story around their solution.

"When you're talking to a client about security, you're not selling them a product, you're telling them a story. Only if that story is real and true and genuine and applicable to them are they going to understand what their needs are and what you can do for them," Savage said.