Top 10 Security Experts in the US news in July 2017

This is the latest instalment of the top 10 security experts in US news coverage. To see a full list for the USA, UK, France, Germany and Spain then download the free report here.

July, as is often the way in the IT industry, was a quiet month. Even the hackers, it seems, took time off to work on their sun tan with little in the way of news relating to attacks or new strains of malware.

Even so, there was still plenty to report on and these were the 10 security experts that received the most coverage:

To see the complete list then download the free report here.

Eugene Kaspersky was top of the list in July because of the continuing rumblings about his company’s links to the Russian government. He reiterated his offer to give the US government access to his source code as well as saying that he was prepared to move some of his research work from Russia to the USA. However, he’s finding that this political story is a tough one to kill off, even with offers of full disclosure. His claim that Kaspersky Lab have become a geopolitical pawn appears to be backed up by the lack of evidence from his accusers.

The one upside of this story for Eugene Kaspersky is that his next comment is eagerly awaited by the press. So when, in late July, he announced the launch of Kaspersky Free the product received plenty of coverage.

Having discovered two pots of sensitive unprotected data last month, Chris Vickery of UpGuard found another in July. This time it was 14 million Verizon customer records lying about on an unprotected Amazon S3 cloud server.

There is a big appetite for stories about large organisations playing fast and loose with sensitive data, and Vickery has maximised this demand over the last couple of months.

News of security acquisitions have barely had a look in over the last couple of months as WannaCry and Petya dominated the news schedules. But the in the absence of any major cyber-attacks to report on, journalists have looked to write about other security news giving companies the opportunity to talk about their products, services, acquisitions, etc. This month, Greg Clark, CEO of Symantec, talked extensively about his company’s new acquisitions, the Israeli browser isolation firm, Fireglass, and SkyCure, a mobile security startup.

Another acquisition story that had legs this month was HyTrust’s $36 million purchase of DataGravity. Eric Chiu, HyTrust’s founder and president was widely quoted on this acquisition earning a place in the top 10 security experts this month.

Expanding the theme of stories that normally wouldn’t have received as much traction as they did this month, was the success story of UK based Darktrace, a leader in AI technology for cybersecurity. Its CEO, Nicole Eaton was quoted across a number of news outlets as she announced that Darktrace had raised another $75 million in D series funding.

Similarly, a news story that wouldn’t have got a look in in the last couple of months was IBM’s announcement that their IBM Z mainframes had been revamped so that all data held on them can be encrypted thereby reducing the risk of hacking and data loss. Ross Mauri, IBM’s General Manager of Z mainframes was tasked with announcing this new development and enjoyed extensive coverage across the IT press.

One of the security experts with the most interesting content this month was Patrick Wardle, a security researcher at Synack. Firstly, it’s worth saying that Wardle is a former NSA hacker and the reason I point that out is that almost every article he was mentioned in felt it worthy to mention. Secondly, he was quoted from a report by Motherboard into Apple bug bounties. The gist of the report was that Apple don’t pay enough for bug discovery and Wardle’s rather worrying quote that “iOS bugs are too valuable to report to Apple” received a lot of coverage. The implication being that there are plenty of nefarious types out there who are happy to pay more than Apple.

Later in the month he was back in the news because he and his company discovered a new strain of the Fruitfly Mac malware on 400, mostly, US based computers.

Another issue which might have taken a back seat in the last two months was how US telecom providers are poor at protecting the privacy of their customer’s data from government investigations. The chief spokesman on this issue was Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.

Michael Chertoff, a former US Homeland Secretary and now chairman of the Chertoff Group was in the news this month as chairing a meeting of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace early in the month. He followed this with an attack on Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, who as part of his voter fraud investigation requested all publicly available voter data from the states. Chertoff said that gathering so much personal data would be big threat to national security because the data would be vulnerable to hacking.

So all in all, it was a very different look to this month with only one off the top ten, Patrick Wardle, talking about malware. The rest were either talking about product, issues, acquisitions or battling against the government and public perception.