U.S. News

Security startup CrowdStrike hires one of FBI's top lawyers

BOSTON (Reuters) - A security firm known as CrowdStrike that is urging clients to get tough with hackers has hired one of the FBI’s top attorneys to advise customers on just how far they can go in fighting back without getting into legal troubles of their own.

The firm said on Thursday that FBI Deputy Assistant Director Steven Chabinsky will join the company next week as senior vice president for legal affairs and chief risk officer.

CrowdStrike is among the most vocal proponents of a somewhat controversial new approach to dealing with hackers that is known as “offensive security” or “active defense” in security circles, through which victims strike back at attackers in cyberspace

The company’s about 50 employees include a contingent of former intelligence and law enforcement officers, led by Shawn Henry, the former head of cyber crime investigations at the FBI who joined CrowdStrike in April as the president of its professional services division.

CrowdStrike will not discuss specific measures it employs, but say its methods are designed to frustrate adversaries by disrupting their infrastructures and misleading them with false information, which raises the time and money it takes for attackers to conduct their activities.

“We are in the early days of a cyber revolution where companies can choose to stop taking daily body blows from determined adversaries and take aggressive action to deter and create a hostile environment for the enemy inside,” CrowdStrike Chief Executive George Kurtz said on his blog,

“While there are no silver bullets, or miracle security programs that can fix all of the challenges we face, legal offensive security is the right way forward,” he added.

He said that the company will introduce a beta version of its first technology product during the fourth quarter of this year.

“It’s a big data platform to identify and prevent damage from targeted attacks,” he said.

Company officials have to date said very little about the cloud-based technology, which has generated keen interest in the cyber security community as CrowdStrike has recruited some of the world’s top computer scientists and other security experts from rival firms.

The company was set up late last year with funding from private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

CrowdStrike’s founders are Kurtz, the former worldwide chief technology offer of McAfee; Dmitri Alperovitch, former vice president of threat research at McAfee; and Gregg Marston, who worked as chief financial officer of Foundstone Inc, a cyber security forensics firm that Kurtz sold to McAfee.

Reporting By Jim Finkle; Editing by M.D. Golan