Top FBI cyber cop joins startup CrowdStrike to fight enterprise intrusions

Shawn Henry to head incident response unit

Shawn Henry, who just retired as executive assistant director of the criminal, cyber, response and service branch of the FBI after 24 years there, has been named president of CrowdStrike Services, a division which will focus on incident response and malware assessment. Henry says he accepted the position because he agrees with the company's vision, even though CrowdStrike only debuted a few months ago and its product line won't be out until later this year. CrowdStrike was founded by its CEO George Kurtz and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch, and funded with $26 million from investment firm Warburg Pincus.

Henry says the services division he's heading up will include proactively hunting down intruders in the network, which increasingly, he points out, you have to assume are there. "We need to change the cybersecurity dynamic," which is far too reactive today, he says.

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From his career at the FBI, Henry is well aware how private industry at times needs to turn to the FBI and other law enforcement for help when it appears there's a cyber-intrusion. Espionage might come from nation states or criminals out to steal business or government secrets, and the more the private sector is equipped to defend itself, the better. "The private sector needs to be proactive," Henry says.

He doesn't expect CrowdStrike to get any special treatment from the FBI or others in government simply because of his personal experience in these types of investigations. CrowdStrike is based in San Francisco, but Henry will be leading its services division from an office in the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., which is near the Pentagon and just outside of Washington, D.C.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

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