Google Security Chief by Day, TV Magician 'Eran Raven' by Night

Maybe it should come as no surprise that Google's Director of Security is also a "mentalist" magician; few can better sell the illusion of ironclad internet security, after all, than a master of deception who fooled thousands of NBC viewers.

But Eran Feigenbaum — better known as "Eran Raven" — has turned the cheese knob up awfully high, considering his buttoned-down job as the Director of Security for the putative blue-chip operation that is Google Enterprise, which is trying to sell "cloud computing" to no less uptight a customer than the federal government. There's his stage makeup and hair, sure, but also the animated ring that hovers above his hand in the splash screen for his professional website. Above is a side by side comparison of mentalist Eran and Google Eran; which one would you prefer to buy security from?


In his defense, Feigenbaum isn't all hocus pocus, at least on paper: he boasts a stint as US Chief Information Security Officer for PricewaterhouseCoopers, an MBA from Pepperdine and computer engineering degree from UC Irvine. But none of that leaves as much of an impression as his stint on NBC's Phenomenon as Eran Raven, who famously played Russian roulette with a series of nail guns (see clip above), fell on a bed of nails and used his "magic amulet" on an NBC intern (ahem).

It was a big step up from the old days when Eran worked cruise ships. But even the grunt magician work was good training for his day job, Feigenbaum said at a security conference last year:

If you think about it, magicians and mentalists are looking for different ways to fool us. When you look at the left hand, they're doing something sneaky with the right hand. The same is true with security and hackers. Hackers are trying to find vulnerabilities in our systems, things we haven't thought about; trying to get us to look at something over here when they're doing something over there and make use of that vulnerability.

So Feigenbaum is an expert at covering up your own secrets while grabbing for other people's. He must fit right in at Google!