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COO of the world’s largest global network security agency, FireEye, Kevin Mandia has been first responder to the biggest breaches in cyber security history including the 2014 Sony attack and the New York Times hackings. Prior to being acquired by FireEye, Mandia’s cyber security firm, Mandiant, became nationally known in 2013 when they were able to link attacks on Fortune 100 companies and the U.S. government to the People’s Liberation Army in China.
Having gotten his start as a computer security officer for the U.S. air force, Mandia now oversees operations at a company whose name is invoked by organizations to reassure markets that they have everything under control after even the most publicized hackings. In addition to being the first person called in to handle the gravest of cyber attacks, Mandia is an internationally sought-after speaker and media consultant due to his proven record as one of the U.S.’s brightest cyber sleuths.
Kevin Mandia is the chief operating officer of FireEye, a global network security company that provides real-time threat protection to businesses and governments worldwide against the next generation of cyber attacks. He is the founder of Mandiant and served as CEO prior to its acquisition by FireEye in 2014. In founding Mandiant, Mandia pioneered the information security industry by leading the first company to ever embrace incident response as its core competence. He has spent more than 20 years in information security and has been on the front lines helping organizations respond to computer security breaches.
In his forward-looking presentations, Mandia clearly outlines the landscape of threats that are occurring in the U.S. and around the world—and what organizations of all types need to do to protect themselves from these threats that can have a long-term impact on business operations. Mandia provides regular commentary and analysis on cyber security issues for national print and broadcast media, including NBC News, CBS, NPR, FOX News, CNN, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Kevin Mandia discusses the greatest challenges surfacing in cyber security and why these problems won’t be going away anytime soon. After three and a half years of responding to breaches for organizations spanning across 21 different sectors, Mandia’s company at the time, Mandiant recorded a major jump in the number of offenders; in 2011 almost 99% of all attacks could be linked to 35 groups. By 2014, that number had jumped to over 400 groups.
He cites “the most compelling reason” that we continue to see an increasing number of intrusions: the lack of consequences for the people behind them. In general most intruders are based in countries where governments encourage or even fund their activities. “There are absolutely no risks or repercussions if you’re in Russia or China or North Korea or Iraq and you’re launching these attacks,” Mandia states. “If we don’t have any risks or repercussions to the attacks, they’re never going to go away.”
Kevin Mandia narrates how he and his team were able to connect a military unit in China to some of the biggest cyber attacks on Fortune100 companies and American government within recent history. He and his coworkers tracked IP addresses time and time again to Shanghai giving them technical leads. Google searches began to uncover Chinese resumes around Shanghai that listed “hacking with unit 61398” under work history.
“The mother ship of evidence really is that we found, some how, some way, a document being posted just for a short duration that was an agreement between the Chinese military and Chinese telecom to put in the bandwidth required at a certain building with a certain address,” Mandia reveals, saying that the building matched up with data from the resumes.
Explaining why he chose to make the information public and risk making enemies with the world’s second largest economy, Mandia states that his team had already been following this group and others within China for seven years, and despite many companies spending 20 million or more dollars to protect their cyber security, time and time again, they became victims to intrusions by these groups. “I felt maybe it’s time to elevate the awareness and elevate the evidence and we could have a real dialogue in a nontechnical way and see if we could change some of the culture and interchanges we had.”
Staying Ahead in the World of Cyber Security
The man behind the widely publicized—and startling—2013 report on the Chinese military making cyber incursions into top US companies and government entities, there are few leaders of Kevin Mandia’s experience that can help organizations understand the complexities behind threats that lurk in our vitally important online world. In this thoughtful presentation, Mandia discussed the latest cyber security issues dominating today’s headlines and what businesses can do to proactively protect themselves from these threats.
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