Cyber Lessons in the Year of COVID: A Conversation with FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia

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We’ve all learned a lot this year.  The onset of the global pandemic sent many of us scrambling to find new ways to do things that would allow for social distancing.  For businesses, that meant employees working from home.  But the cyber world wasn’t necessarily ready for the shift, as evidenced by the fact that the move “led to an increase in the number of cyber-related breaches,” according to FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia.  And he should know.

Over the course of a decade and a half, Mandia has grown a one-man operation into one of the country’s leading cybersecurity companies, driven in part, by the belief that government alone can’t solve the cyber vulnerability issue.  In 2012, Mandia predicted decades of growth ahead for cybersecurity specialists, telling Cipher Brief CEO Suzanne Kelly back then that “I think there’s gonna be a growth in it because the private sector has to protect the private sector in this regard.  There’s not going to be a magic phone number to get a DHS person on the phone for a computer intrusion.”  (In the past eight years, CISA Director Christopher Krebs has moved mountains, of course, to elevate the importance of cyber within the Department of Homeland Security and to coordinate it within government). 

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