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40 Under 40 Security Picks, FBI Dents Kaspersky, HBO Leaks

August 19, 2017, 5:03 PM UTC

A hearty congratulations to the luminaries appearing on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list this year. The lineup of young business leaders includes four pros from the security world. Coincidentally, and unbeknownst to their selectors, each of the honorees was relevant to the news of the week.

Dmitri Alperovitch, cofounder and tech chief, CrowdStrike

Alperovitch led the investigation into the Democratic National Committee’s security breach during the election season last year. So when The New York Times on Wednesday alleged a link between a Ukrainian hacker and the DNC hack, he was the perfect person to consult. Brian Krebs, a security blogger, pointed out that the Times story was built on a false premise; the tool built by the Ukrainian hacker, who goes by the online alias Profexer, was not used in the cyberespionage operation. Fortune confirmed this detail with Alperovitch, no. 26 on the 40 Under 40 list, in an email: “the PAS webshell that the individual Times was writing about allegedly had written was NOT used in the DNC hack.” In other words, the Ukrainian and the DNC hack are not connected; you heard it from the horse’s mouth.

Michelle Zatlyn, cofounder and chief operating officer, Cloudflare

Earlier this week, Cloudflare, a content delivery network that boasts supporting 10% of the world’s Internet traffic, kicked the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer off its platform in the wake of a lethal protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. The decision basically guaranteed that the white supremacist stronghold would immediately succumb to distributed denial of services attacks and get taken offline. This represents an unprecedented reversal of course for Matthew Prince, Cloudflare’s CEO, and Zatlyn, his second-in-command and no. 34 on this year’s 40 Under 40 list. The pair have long held firm in their belief that they should not play judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to which voices get represented online. “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power,” Prince wrote in a memo to employees about his choice. If you haven’t read the follow-up blog post about the decision, you should. It’s worthwhile, and raises uncomfortable questions about free speech rights.

Jared Cohen, CEO, Alphabet’s Jigsaw and Yasmin Green, director of R&D, Alphabet’s Jigsaw

A pair of terror attacks in Spain has reminded the world of the threat that fomenting extremist ideologies pose at home and abroad. Cohen and Green, who earned a shared no. 18 spot on the 40 Under 40 list, are working to stop susceptible people from becoming radicalized. They’re using Google’s tech, like ad-targeting, to nudge social drifters back into normality. You might recall that I featured Green in a column here earlier this summer. Cohen and Green’s refreshing approach to nipping terrorism in the bud is what lands them on the honor roll this year.

Congrats again to the current crop of listees. If you know anyone who should be on Fortune’s radar for next year’s 40 Under 40 list—whether in security or another industry—please get in touch. You can reach me via email or my Twitter handle below.

Robert Hackett


Welcome to the Cyber Saturday edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily tech newsletter. Fortune reporter Robert Hackett here. You may reach me via Twitter, Cryptocat, Jabber (see OTR fingerprint on my, PGP encrypted email (see public key on my, Wickr, Signal, or however you (securely) prefer. Feedback welcome.


FBI pushes businesses to drop Kaspersky. The Feds are reportedly lobbying private sector firms, especially in the energy industry, to ditch the Russian antivirus software maker. The government officials say that Kaspersky Labs has ties to the Kremlin and that its cybersecurity offerings pose a national security threat. Kaspersky, meanwhile, maintains its independence from Russian government and calls the claims baseless.

Assange passed on Kremlin dirt. Julian Assange, publisher of the secret-leaking website WikiLeaks, allegedly declined last summer to publish a cache of documents originating within the Russian Interior Ministry. An administrator behind the WikiLeaks Twitter handle told Foreign Policy, which reported on the rejection, that the organization turns down information that has already been released into the public domain. According to Foreign Policy, half the haul's contents had not at the time been revealed.

AT&T mulls security biz sale. The telecom giant is debating offloading its home security unit, Digital Life, which sells sensors and cameras for customers to monitor their homes. AT&T may need the funds to pay down debt related to its pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

Cisco security has slow growth quarter. Revenue from the networking giant's security business did not grow as quickly as investors has hoped. The unit's top line rose 3% to $558 million, short of the $580 million they had anticipated. Cisco shares traded down 2.5% after the company posted the results.

HBO's Game of Leaks. Another episode of the hit HBO TV show Game of Thrones leaked online this week. Though HBO has been contending with hacks in recent weeks, the most recent debacle was the result of the episode being "accidentally posted" to its Nordic and Spanish version websites. Four people in India have been arrested in connection to the leak.

Craig. Daniel Craig. The actor will return as Britain's favorite spy for at least one more James Bond film, he confirmed in an interview with Stephen Colbert.

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