Our friends and client Crowdstrike continue to rock n roll inside the world of Cyber Security. George Kurtz just got this story published in his hometown newspaper describing Crowdstrike, and George’s, explosive growth, and future in this competitive marketplace. If you want a top notch digital security solution check them out they are doing amazing things in the world of cyber security. Check them out they are an amazing group of highly trained security pro’s that work with many of the top 100 companies on the planet solving their digital security needs.
Parsippany native leads charge at Crowdstrike against cyber attacks
CrowdStrike leads the way in new approaches to fight the global cyber security war against intruders.
A Parsippany native on the front lines of the global cyber wars says if you thought 2014 was wild, wait until 2015.
“It will be worse than 2014,” said George Kurtz, president, CEO and cofounder of the cyber-security firm CrowdStrike. “You’re going to continue to see breaches, a lot of retail breaches, because there’s a lot of money at that.”
Kurtz should know. His company, based in California and Arizona, caters to clients from the Fortune 1000 to the Fortune 10, helping them to prevent costly computer-network breaches or contain cyber-attacks that have already caused serious damage.
Impact on companies
He said there are two types of companies; those that have been breached and those that haven’t figured it out yet.
“Every major company has had some incident. It is a matter of how mature they are in terms of understanding what the incident is, and how they can better protect themselves against it,” Kurtz told the Daily Record during a recent holiday visit with family members in the Troy Hills section of the township.
He recently spoke on CNBC to address what he termed a shift in the focus of hackers and cyber-criminals from merely hacking their way into a network and causing mischief, to targeted attacks to steal specific proprietary information, or worse, with the intent to destroy data.
“When you look at the various phases of hackings, these are specific threat-active groups,” he said of the new wave of attacks, most notably the recent breach at Sony Studios allegedly perpetrated by the North Korean government in protest over the film “The Interview,” which mocks the country’s infamously eccentric leader Kim Jong-Un.
“A lot of (the attackers) are nations — could be China, Russia, Iran — in this case, we think its North Korea,” Kurtz said. “The progression of hacking went from computer-network exploration, to break in and see what’s around, to ‘I’m going to break in and steal a bunch of data and trade secrets.’ In particular, China is pretty good at this and commercializes it to their advantage. (And) data destruction, we’re seeing more and more about this.”
From Parsippany to Price Waterhouse
Kurtz, who spent much of his time in Parsippany fly fishing or playing for the Parsippany High School football team, started out as an accountant after graduating from Seton Hall University, after which he worked for firms such as Price Waterhouse.
But when he grew bored of ledgers and spreadsheets, he transferred into the Price Waterhouse security department.
“This was in 1993, before most people knew of the Internet,” he said. “I was the fifth person recruited into the security group and none of them knew anything about (Internet security), so they threw me into that.”
His entry into the field, coinciding with the explosion of Internet use, paved the way for a lucrative career, 10 years of which were spent in what he called commercial penetration.
“Basically, I was getting paid to break into people’s computers,” he said.
Recognizing a lack of documentation on the subject, he co-authored a book, “Hacking Exposed,” which he said “became the No. 1 Internet security book ever published, over 600,000 copies sold in 30 languages.”
The book became a series, the latest edition being “Hacking Exposed 7” in 2012. The money he earned from the books helped him to launch his first cyber-security firm, Foundstone, in 1999.
Industry leader McAfee bought Foundstone in 2004 and Kurtz stayed on, progressing to worldwide chief technology and accumulating 300,000 miles in annual worldwide travel.
Launch of Crowdstrike
He left in 2011, when he raised $25 million in venture capital to launch Crowdstrike, where he frequently serves as the face of the company in media interviews including the recent appearance on CNBC.
In February, he participated in a company presentation called “Hacking Exposed: Day of Destruction” at a trade show, during which Crowdstrike opened the eyes of several business leaders by predicting the kind of breaches seen in 2014, from Target and Home Depot to the ongoing Sony Studios affair.
“It went into how catastrophic it can be for a company, and how unprepared companies are,” he said. “We knew this was coming. Just imagine coming into your corporation and having every desktop, every server blown away. You can’t swipe your badge in because the computer that runs the badges is down. You can’t buy something from the cafeteria because that computer is down. It’s like a wasteland. Most people don’t think that is possible but it’s the next evolution of where the bad guys are going to go.”
Targeted attacks have upped the ante, which is bad for most businesses, but not for Crowdstrike.
“Business is booming,” Kurtz said. “It’s a great time to be in cyber-security.”
He agrees with popular opinion that agents of the North Korea government were responsible for the Sony hack, although he doubts if the U.S. government was behind the subsequent losses of Internet service in North Korea.
“That could be anybody. North Korea has about four Internet connections and about a thousand IP addresses,” Kurtz said. “A 15-year-old kid could take down their Internet connection, so who knows who did that?”
With CrowdStrike’s proprietary software and intelligence division that is constantly tracking about 80 major government and cyber-criminal groups, Kurtz says his company could have prevented attacks such as those seen at Sony and Target.
Those events, he said, have led to Crowdstrike consulting with companies “on the board level” as millions of dollars in product and brand image lie in the balance.
“The Target attacks have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, not counting the cost in brand image, which is incredible,” he said. “The boards of major companies are taking this very seriously now.”
Common antivirus software programs, he said, are not equipped to block sophisticated attacks and are mostly useless once the damage is done.
CrowdStrike, he said, stays ahead of the competition with the ability to work fast.
“We protected 77,000 computers at a bank in about two hours,” he said. “That can take months for other companies.”
Likening his industry growth to the recent shale oil boom in North Dakota, Kurtz says career opportunities in cyber-security are virtually unlimited. For those people wanting to enter the field, he suggested the U.S. military as a great training ground.
“Most people are unaware how adept the US is at this as well,” he said. “There certainly are great careers in cyber-security within the U.S. military, which is very advanced. I think (the Sony hack) is one that the public is aware of because it was so egregious, but this happens all the time with just about every big government in terms of stealing data.”
Staff Writer William Westhoven: 973-428-6627; firstname.lastname@example.org.