Case Study: Sophos



Although UK-based Sophos is an established leader in the cyber security sector, it was losing ground in its efforts to secure consistent and positive media coverage. New product announcements went largely unnoticed, and the number of product reviews dwindled as industry media outlets reduced, or even eliminated, the number of reviews they published. Sophos needed to develop storylines that the media would find both compelling and timely for their readers.

Connect led the development and execution of a thought leadership campaign that examined how human behavior and a desire for connectivity opens individuals and businesses up to significant security risk. Connect worked with Sophos to present its research findings to the security industry trade media and to national news outlets the company had never worked with before.


The Sophos website describes the company's SophosLabs division, a team of experts that develops all Sophos solutions, as "the people behind the scenes, collecting, correlating and analyzing data to provide the best protection for every Sophos customer." Connect recognized that the SophosLabs researchers can provide exactly the kind of expertise that the industry and national business media covet when covering cyber security-related news and trends. So Connect to bring SophosLabs out from behind the scenes to center stage, beginning with an experiement on the streets of New York City.

Connect and a SophosLabs researcher set up several bogus Wi-Fi hotspots to see if anyone would log on and hand over control of their device and their credit card information in for inexpensive Wi-Fi access.


  • 2,341 people connected to the Sophos Hot Spots in locations throughout New York.
  • Astoundingly, 109 of those individuals entered credit card details and paid for access, essentially handling over all their credit card credentials.
  • 859 handed over additional personal information.
  • The average user spent a mere 0.3 seconds reading the end-user license agreement (EULA), which clearly notified users of the Sophos security study. 

These user actions would have provided a hacker with the ability to take control of their machines and their bank accounts.




Sophos was featured on a two-and-a-half minute segment that ran on ABC World News, NBC's Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and 41 additional times on NBC affiliate stations across the U.S., including New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Each airing featured interviews with a Sophos executive and significant company branding throughout, reaching an audience never before targeted by the company.

The Sophos account executives leveraged the segment and seeded the results of the research with channel partners, which in turn immediately opened the doors and provided much needed mementum for an upcoming product announcement.



In addition to the initial broadcast segment, executives at NBC liked the segment so much it directed its producers to develop new cyber security-related content for future shows. With the help of Connect, NBC aired the weeklong series "Hacking in America" across its family of news networks and programs. Sophos, of course, supplied three of the four segments, reaching an audience of millions of viewers and totaling millions of dollars of equivalent advertising spend.

To quote Sophos CEO Kris Hagerman, "Amazing, amzaing, amzaing. Congratulations to all of you - what a great piece of work, and with stunning results for Sophos. This was a PR grand slam home run if ever I've seen one."

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