Apple hires away Amazon exec to head up corporate digital security, report says

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2016
Days before Apple is set to meet U.S. prosecutors in court over a contentious encryption fight involving an iPhone linked to last year's San Bernardino terror attack, a report on Friday claims the company has poached Amazon's vice president of information security George Stathakopoulos.


Stathakopoulos will reportedly be responsible for securing corporate computers
like those used in Apple's top-secret design lab.


Citing inside sources, Reuters (via Fortune) reports Stathakopoulos has been at work at Apple for about one week heading head up the company's corporate security operation, a position similar to the one he left behind at Amazon. At Apple, Stathakopoulos answers to CFO Luca Maestri and is responsible for securing corporate computers used to design and develop products and software, as well as systems storing sensitive customer data, the report said.

While the hire has not yet been confirmed, the publication does provide circumstantial evidence supporting its claims. A reporter who called Apple's switchboard asking to speak with Stathakopoulos was connected to a person who answered, "George's office," Fortune said.

According to Stathakopoulos' LinkedIn page, which still lists Amazon as his current employer, the security expert worked to "protect Amazon and its customers" against digital threats and directed the e-commerce giant's IT infrastructure.

Prior to joining Amazon in 2010, Stathakopoulos worked at Microsoft as an engineer, then as general manager of product security, a post that put him in charge of the Microsoft Security Response Center and Global Security Strategy & Diplomacy. Leading the two high-level teams required cooperation with governments on technical security issues and policy, the LinkedIn bio says. It is not clear if Stathakopoulos will be putting any of those skills to work at Apple, a company currently embroiled in a contentious court battle over consumer encryption rights.

Apple is challenging a federal court order compelling its assistance in unlocking an iPhone tied to San Bernardino terror suspect Syed Rizwan Farook. The Justice Department has requested Apple architect an iOS variant susceptible to brute-force attacks in hopes that investigators can access and extract potentially vital information from the device. The company is resisting, arguing government overtures not only amount to overreach, but could set dangerous precedent for future investigations. Apple and government prosecutors will meet in court next Tuesday.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I hope Apple invests a couple of billion to buy the best lobbyists available in Washington. Without covering all the political bases, the government will keep chipping away at Apple until they lose in court or there is ultimately a big change to the existing laws by Congress which will disfavor Apple and all other security dependent American companies.
    edited March 2016 baconstangmwhitelatifbplostkiwiuraharajony0apple head
  • Reply 2 of 16
    bsimpsenbsimpsen Posts: 376member
    I hope Apple invests a couple of billion to buy the best lobbyists available in Washington. Without covering all the political bases, the government will keep chipping away at Apple until they lose in court or there is ultimately a big change to the existing laws by Congress which will disfavor Apple and all other security dependent American companies.
    Virtually every American company is security dependent.
    latifbp
  • Reply 3 of 16
    milkmagemilkmage Posts: 152member
    just read a piece that said Apple has 750 Million active credit cards/accounts.. i assume Amazon has at least that.

    I'm somewhat surprised that nobody has hacked them yet (Google too).

    even if you could deface the home page for 10 minutes that'd be a huge win for the perp - impossible for Aapl/Goog/Amzn to keep off the interwebs - it simply hasn't happened.


    apple head
  • Reply 4 of 16
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,924member
    I'm using his last name as my password. 
    dreyfus2JanNLxamaxRayz2016nostrathomaslostkiwiuraharafracmessagepad2100bestkeptsecret
  • Reply 5 of 16
    postmanpostman Posts: 35member
    This is the next logical step for Apple in light of all the FBI news.

    Based on Apple's history when facing anything that in any way threatens their secrecy, such as the FBI's recent full-court press to literally wreck their iOS integrity, I believe this is a logical response.

    In other words, Tim Cook is doing what he has in the past - 'doubling down on security'.

    In addition, hiring George Stathakopoulos makes perfect sense in light of recent reports that Apple is extending their encryption to their iCloud service - literally making it end-to-end, making it literally impossible for them to "help" the FBI going forward to access that data as they have in the past - without the owner's password. 

    FBI director James Comey's aggressive authoritarian attacks against Apple and other tech companies since taking the job in 2013 has done incalculable damage to the FBI's reputation. Making it almost impossible for any CEO to trust, much less want to "cooperate" with the FBI going forward. This is bad for the FBI and bad for the country. Frankly, I think Comey should resign.
    xamaxRayz2016latifbpstsklostkiwijony0badmonk
  • Reply 6 of 16
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Apple should do end-to-end encryption of all IP traffic between Apple devices.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 16
    xamaxxamax Posts: 135member
    Hum his previous positions required him to work with government, complying to policy? Does this mean backdoor? This is a critical time in terms of hires and said poaching doesn't impress me. I'm impressed with hiring guys like the Signal App creator, hackers, they can help with internal and external security. This is the kind of thing that draconian NDA doesn't suffice...
    latifbp
  • Reply 8 of 16
    Mr. Stathakopoulos should've started by securing the switchboard first.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    stskstsk Posts: 22member
    FBI director James Comey's aggressive authoritarian attacks against Apple and other tech companies since taking the job in 2013 has done incalculable damage to the FBI's reputation. Making it almost impossible for any CEO to trust, much less want to "cooperate" with the FBI going forward. This is bad for the FBI and bad for the country. Frankly, I think Comey should resign.
    Perhaps Comey's recent trip to China was just a job search. He's looking for a position in a country with a more congruent stance on the balance of state vs. individual control.
    lostkiwibadmonk
  • Reply 10 of 16
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,812member
    I just saw that General Petraeus, another ex head of the CIA, also backed Apple's stance of no backdoor.
    Pretty much the only Department behind the warrants is the DOJ, with the FBI pushing this.
    lostkiwibadmonk
  • Reply 11 of 16
    CMA102DLCMA102DL Posts: 121member
    This is not even the FBI, it is the quest of one mad and delusional man, James Comey. I think most folks at the FBI are too embarrassed to speak up against Comey. Comey is the wrong man as Chief of the FBI. The guy embarrassed himself in the Congressional hearing with Apple. He is completely incompetent when it comes to technical discussions. He might be a great lawyer, but we expect more from an FBI Chief. And we expect an FBI Chief to listen to people like DNI's Clapper, ex-NSA Michael Hayden, Michael Chertoff, NSA's Mike Rogers, the rest of the world....even Lindsey Graham, who disapprove of backdoors and siding with Apple. Somebody needs to fire Comey immediately! He is the No. 1 threat to National Security!
    edited March 2016 lostkiwifrackibitzerbadmonk
  • Reply 12 of 16
    BlasterBlaster Posts: 97member
    stsk said:

    Perhaps Comey's recent trip to China was just a job search. He's looking for a position in a country with a more congruent stance on the balance of state vs. individual control. 
    Everybody like to bash China's culture of cheap imitation junk, government trampling of civil rights and government sponsored hacking, but it hasn't stopped Apple from continuing to have products manufactured there.
    edited March 2016
  • Reply 13 of 16
    fracfrac Posts: 480member
    stsk said:
    FBI director James Comey's aggressive authoritarian attacks against Apple and other tech companies since taking the job in 2013 has done incalculable damage to the FBI's reputation. Making it almost impossible for any CEO to trust, much less want to "cooperate" with the FBI going forward. This is bad for the FBI and bad for the country. Frankly, I think Comey should resign.
    Perhaps Comey's recent trip to China was just a job search. He's looking for a position in a country with a more congruent stance on the balance of state vs. individual control. 

    Apart from the xenophobic nonsense...so the NSA is a myth?
  • Reply 14 of 16
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 269member
    CMA102DL said:
    This is not even the FBI, it is the quest of one mad and delusional man, James Comey. I think most folks at the FBI are too embarrassed to speak up against Comey. Comey is the wrong man as Chief of the FBI. The guy embarrassed himself in the Congressional hearing with Apple. He is completely incompetent when it comes to technical discussions. He might be a great lawyer, but we expect more from an FBI Chief. And we expect an FBI Chief to listen to people like DNI's Clapper, ex-NSA Michael Hayden, Michael Chertoff, NSA's Mike Rogers, the rest of the world....even Lindsey Graham, who disapprove of backdoors and siding with Apple. Somebody needs to fire Comey immediately! He is the No. 1 threat to National Security!
    Let's hope someone speaks up and the DOJ, Congress, and the president don't allow history to repeat itself. There was another director of the FBI that brought so much fear that no one dared to go up against him. That was J. Edgar Hoover. He had so much dirt on every politician in America that if any spoke up they would fall and their political allies would too. He so hated the Kennedy brothers and MLK Jr. that it wouldn't be surprising that he was hidden behind the assassinations. He kept private files in his home that somehow disappeared after his death. The havoc Hoover could create in today's digital world boggles the mind.

    Corney needs to be stopped before this goes too far. Perhaps there is a brave federal judge out there that will stomp his fire out.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,114member
    mnbob1 said:

    Corney needs to be stopped before this goes too far. Perhaps there is a brave federal judge out there that will stomp his fire out.

    This is a democracy and we're all about the law, right? Just waterboard Comey. He'll come around.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    jungmark said:
    I'm using his last name as my password. 

    The name reminded me of a Tintin villain called Rastapopoulos!
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