Alex Stamos

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Alex Stamos
Alex Stamos at Web Summit 2015 - Dublin, Ireland.jpg
Stamos at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland
Born
OccupationChief security officer, computer scientist
Spouse(s)Katie Stamos
Children3

Alex Stamos is a Greek American computer scientist and adjunct professor at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation.[1] He is the former chief security officer (CSO) at Facebook. His planned departure from the company, following disagreement with other executives about how to address the Russian government's use of its platform to spread disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, was reported in March 2018.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stamos grew up in Fair Oaks, California and graduated from Bella Vista High School in 1997. Stamos attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated in 2001 with a degree in EECS.[3]

Career[edit]

Stamos began his career at Loudcloud and, later, as a security consultant at @stake.[4]

iSEC Partners[edit]

In 2004, Stamos co-founded iSEC Partners, a security consulting firm, with Joel Wallenstrom, Himanshu Dwivedi, Jesse Burns and Scott Stender. During his time at iSEC Partners, Stamos was well known for his research publications on vulnerabilities in forensics software[5] and MacOS,[6] Operation Aurora,[7] and security ethics in the post-Snowden era.[8]

Stamos was an expert witness for a number of cases involving digital privacy, encryption, and free speech:

iSEC Partners was acquired by NCC Group in 2010.[13]

Artemis Internet[edit]

Following the acquisition of iSEC Partners by NCC Group, Stamos became the CTO of Artemis Internet, an internal startup at NCC Group. Artemis Internet petitioned ICANN to host a '.secure' gTLD on which all services would be required to meet minimum security standards[14] Artemis ultimately acquired the right to operate the '.trust' gTLD from Deutsche Post to launch its services.[15]

Stamos filed and received five patents for his work at Artemis Internet.[16]

Yahoo![edit]

In 2014, Stamos joined Yahoo! as CSO.[17] While at Yahoo!, he testified to Congress on online advertising and its impact on computer security and data privacy.[18] He publicly challenged NSA Director Michael S. Rogers on the subject of encryption backdoors in February 2015 at a cybersecurity conference hosted by New America.[19][20]

Facebook[edit]

In 2015, Stamos joined Facebook as CSO. During his time at Facebook, Stamos co-authored a whitepaper (with Jen Weedon and Will Nuland) on the use of social media to attack elections.[21] He later delivered a keynote address at the Black Hat Briefings in 2017 on the need to broaden the definition of security and diversify the cybersecurity industry.[22]

In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.

— Alex Stamos, September 6, 2017, [23]
Stamos at Munich Security Conference in February 2018

Following disagreement with other executives about how to address the Russian government's use of its platform to spread disinformation during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he made plans in 2018 to leave the company[2] to take a research professorship at Stanford University.[24]

Stamos was interviewed about the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections in the PBS Frontline documentary The Facebook Dilemma. [25][26]

Controversies[edit]

During Stamos's tenure as the Chief Security Officer, Facebook was involved in numerous safety and security controversies including the Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, failure to remove reported child-abuse images,[27] inaction against disinformation campaigns in Philipines that targeted and harassed journalists, [28][29] Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the Rohingya genocide, for which the company has played a "determining role" according to the UN.[30] Stamos said, as the CSO during the 2016 election season he "deserve as much blame (or more) as any other exec at the company," for Facebook's failed response to the Russian interference.[31] Although the whitepaper Stamos coauthored[21] only mentioned $100,000 ad spend for 3,000 ads connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts, it was later revealed that the Russian influence had reached 126 million Facebook users.[32] While Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million Facebook users before Stamos's tenure, Facebook did not notify its users until 2018, despite knowing about it as early as 2015, the year Stamos joined the company as the CSO.[33] In July 2019, Facebook agreed to pay $100 million to settle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors for more than two years (2015-2018) about the misuse of its users' data.[34]

Stanford University[edit]

As of August 2019, Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation lists Stamos as an adjunct professor, visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution, and director of the Stanford Internet Observatory.[1][35]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "FSI - CISAC - Alex Stamos". Center for International Security and Cooperation. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Perlroth, Nicole; Frenkel, Sheera; Shane, Scott (19 March 2018). "Facebook Security Chief Said to Leave After Clashes Over Disinformation". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Newton Lecture Series: Alex Stamos - UC Berkeley Sutardja Center". UC Berkeley Sutardja Center. 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  4. ^ Shandrow, Kim Lachance (2014-03-11). "4 Things to Know About Yahoo's New Information Security VP Alex Stamos". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  5. ^ Stamos, Alexander (July 16, 2018). "Breaking Forensics Software: Weaknesses in Critical Evidence Collection" (PDF).
  6. ^ Stamos, Alexander (July 16, 2018). "Macs in the Age of APT" (PDF).
  7. ^ Stamos, Alexander (July 16, 2018). "Aurora Response Recommendations" (PDF).
  8. ^ DEFCONConference (2013-12-21), DEF CON 21 - Alex Stamos - An Open Letter The White Hat's Dilemma, retrieved 2018-07-16
  9. ^ Halderman, J. (July 16, 2018). "Lessons from the Sony CD DRM Episode" (PDF).
  10. ^ Stamos, Alexander (July 16, 2018). "Declaration of Alexander Stamos" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Declaration of Alexander Stamos in Reply of Defendant Hotz to 103 SCEA's Opposition Brief filed byGeorge Hotz for Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC v. Hotz et al :: Justia Dockets & Filings". Justia Dockets & Filings. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  12. ^ "The Truth about Aaron Swartz's "Crime"". Unhandled Exception. 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  13. ^ "UPDATE 1-NCC Group buys U.S. security testing firm". Reuters. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 2018-03-20.
  14. ^ ."My own private Internet: .secure TLD floated as bad-guy-free zone". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  15. ^ ".trust - ICANNWiki". icannwiki.org. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  16. ^ "Google Patents". patents.google.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  17. ^ Wagner, Kurt (3 October 2017). "Who is Alex Stamos, the man hunting down Russian political ads on Facebook?". Recode. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Online Advertising and Consumer Security". C-SPAN.org. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  19. ^ CNBC (2015-02-28), Yahoo Security Officer Confronts NSA Director | CNBC, retrieved 2018-07-16
  20. ^ "Here's how the clash between the NSA Director and a senior Yahoo executive went down". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  21. ^ a b "An Update On Information Operations On Facebook | Facebook Newsroom". Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  22. ^ Black Hat (2017-09-13), Black Hat USA 2017 Keynote, retrieved 2018-07-16
  23. ^ "Facebook Says Russian Accounts Bought $100,000 in Ads During the 2016 Election". Time. 6 September 2017.
  24. ^ "Facebook's Security Chief to Depart for Stanford University". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  25. ^ "The Facebook Dilemma". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  26. ^ "The Facebook Dilemma: Alex Stamos". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  27. ^ "Facebook failed to remove sexualised images of children". bbc.com. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  28. ^ "Philippine journalist Maria Ressa talks Facebook, truth on Recode Decode - Vox". vox.com. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  29. ^ "Journalists like Maria Ressa face death threats and jail for doing their jobs. Facebook must take its share of the blame". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  30. ^ "U.N. investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis". reuters.com. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  31. ^ "Departing Facebook Security Officer's Memo: "We Need To Be Willing To Pick Sides"". buzzfeednews.com. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  32. ^ "Russian content on Facebook, Google and Twitter reached far more users than companies first disclosed, congressional testimony says". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  33. ^ Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal § Overview
  34. ^ "SEC.gov | Facebook to Pay $100 Million for Misleading Investors About the Risks It Faced From Misuse of User Data". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 2020-12-13.
  35. ^ "FSI - Cyber - Internet Observatory - About IO". Freeman Spogli Institute. Retrieved 5 August 2019.

Patents[edit]

  • U.S. Patent 9083727B1 Securing client connections, filed April 11, 2012, granted July 14, 2015
  • U.S. Patent 8799482B1 Domain policy specification and enforcement, filed April 11, 2012, granted August 5, 2014
  • U.S. Patent 9106661B1 Computing resource policy regime specification and verification, filed May 9, 2014, granted August 11, 2014
  • U.S. Patent 8990392B1 Assessing a computing resource for compliance with a computing resource policy regime specification, filed May 9, 2014, granted March 24, 2015
  • U.S. Patent 9264395B1 Discovery engine, filed May 9, 2014, granted February 16, 2016