As Former Chief of Security at Facebook & Professor at Stanford, Alex Stamos had led Facebook’s threat intelligence team of engineers, researchers, investigators, and analysts and evaluated and mitigated security risks for Facebook’s network of 2.5 billion. With experience-driven insights from his time at Facebook and Yahoo, he sheds light on the current threat landscape and what can be done to fight back.
Alex Stamos is a cybersecurity expert, business leader and entrepreneur whose career has focused on improving the security and safety of the Internet. The former Chief Security Officer of Facebook and the former Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo, he is currently an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University, where his teaching and research focuses on international security and cooperation.
During his time at Facebook, Stamos led a threat intelligence team of engineers, researchers, investigators, and analysts charged with understanding and mitigating information security risks to the company and safety risks to the 2.5 billion people on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The New York Times called Stamos “a celebrated figure in privacy and security circles,” and Tech Crunch said he is “widely regarded as one of the smartest people working in the security space.”
During Stamos’ time at Facebook, he led the company’s investigation into manipulation of the 2016 US election and helped pioneer several successful protections against these new classes of abuse. According to The New York Times, through that work he became known for his role as a “strong advocate inside [Facebook] for investigating and disclosing Russian activity on Facebook.” Alex represented the company to regulators, lawmakers and civil society on six continents, and has served as a bridge between the interests of the Internet policy community and the complicated reality of platforms operating at billion-user scale. In April 2017, he co-authored “Information Operations and Facebook,” a highly cited examination of the influence campaign against the US election, which still stands as the most thorough description of the issue by a major technology company.
Before joining Facebook, Alex was the Chief Information Security Officer at Yahoo, rebuilding a storied security team while dealing with multiple assaults by nation-state actors. While at Yahoo, he led the company’s response to the Snowden disclosures by implementing massive cryptographic improvements in his first months. He also represented the company in an open hearing of the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
In 2004, Alex co-founded iSEC Partners, an elite security consultancy known for groundbreaking work in secure software development, embedded and mobile security. As a trusted partner to world’s largest technology firms, Alex coordinated the response to the “Aurora” attacks by the People’s Liberation Army at multiple Silicon Valley firms and led groundbreaking work securing the world’s largest desktop and mobile platforms. During this time, he also served as an expert witness in several notable civil and criminal cases, such as the Google Street View incident and pro bono work for the defendants in Sony vs George Hotz and US vs Aaron Swartz. After the 2010 acquisition of iSEC Partners by NCC Group, Alex formed an experimental R&D division at the combined company, producing five patents.
Stamos is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford’s Freeman-Spogli Institute, a William J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution. He has been involved with securing the US election system as a contributor to Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy Project and involved in the academic community as an advisor to Stanford’s Cybersecurity Policy Program and UC Berkeley’s Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity. He is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Security Task Force, the Bay Area CSO Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. Alex also serves on the advisory board to NATO’s Collective Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.