Wall Street Journal: A With Security Expert Richard Clarke, Bit9′s Newest Adviser

September 19th, 2011

Wall Street Journal

A With Security Expert Richard Clarke, Bit9′s Newest Adviser

By Scott Denne
September 19, 2011, 1:59 PM ET

Richard Clarke is best-known for his work on counter-terrorism — serving three presidents, including George W. Bush during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing wars — but lately he’s spent much of his time on cyber security through his consulting practice Good Harbor Consulting, an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, an upcoming book and the boards of two venture-backed security start-ups.

Richard Clarke

Today, Bit9, a maker of application white-listing software, announced that Clarke has joined the company’s board. We spoke with Clarke for a few minutes to talk about his involvement in IT security, how the threats are changing and why he’s joining Bit9. (He’s also a recently added board member of Veracode Inc., a company whose services enable software developers or buyers to test software for potential security vulnerabilities.)

Below is an edited excerpt of the conversation.

Q. You’re most well-known for anti-terrorism — how long have you been involved in cyber security?

A. I’ve been involved and vocal for 13 years. President Clinton asked me to take charge of cyber security in 1998, so it’s not a new thing for me.

Q. How have the threats changed since then?

A. In the last three or four years, the quality and sophistication of attacks has changed both from criminals and state actors. Criminals are no longer acting as a lone wolf but grouping together highly-trained individuals.

On the state side, there’s a systematic, industrial scale threat, swooping through sector by sector — oil and gas, banking, research — and vacuuming up terabytes and petabytes of information.

In 1998 there were denial of service attacks on Amazon[.com Inc.] and Yahoo [Inc.] that triggered a meeting at the White House about cyber security. Those attacks were child’s play compared to what’s happening now.  Read More…