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Barrett Lyon

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Barrett Lyon
Born (1978-03-18) 18 March 1978 (age 46)
Known forOpte Project
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science

Barrett Gibson Lyon (born March 18, 1978) is an American Internet entrepreneur,[1] security researcher,[2] and a former hacker.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of a lawyer, Lyon was raised in Auburn, California.[5] Although he initially struggled in school due to dyslexia, in middle school he became fascinated with computers. He soon found that the methods he used to overcome dyslexia allowed him to quickly gain expert knowledge of computers.[6] While in high school, he set up Linux servers to host webpages for friends and also managed his school's computer network.[7] In 1995, while investigating a possible vulnerability in Network Solutions he accidentally caused AOL's website to go down for three days.[8] After high school, Lyon enrolled at California State University, Sacramento, and studied philosophy and photography.

Opte Project[edit]

Lyon is the creator of the Opte Project, which is an Internet mapping project that seeks to make an accurate representation of the extent of the Internet using visual graphics. The project was started in October 2003 in an effort to provide a useful Internet map with open-source code. The project has gathered support worldwide and is part of the catalogs of the Boston Museum of Science[9] and The Museum of Modern Art.[10]


While working part-time in college for a small network security company, Lyon worked on defending websites against Denial of Service attacks.[11] He soon decided to start Prolexic Technologies to specifically focus on defending websites against such attacks.[12] His initial customers were online casinos which were facing extortionist threats from operators of Denial of Service attacks. After helping bring a Russian hacker to justice, Lyon's publicity allowed him to gain many new clients from outside of the gambling industry.[13] He soon began giving talks about botnets and DoS attacks at industry meetings.[14] Lyon eventually left Prolexic to start BitGravity.[15] Prolexic was later sold to Akamai Technologies, a content delivery network based in Boston for $370 million.[16]


Lyon was the CEO of his startup Netography,[17][18] until intrusion detection pioneer and creator of Snort, Martin Roesch was appointed in August 2022.[19] Roesch as CEO and chair of the Board, Lyon as Chief Architect, and co-founder Dan Murphy as CTO, then raised $45M from Andreessen Horowitz and SYN Ventures.

DoS investigation[edit]

Lyon has been called a hero[20] for his work tracking Russian denial of service attack extortion groups. His work has been featured around the globe[21] and is featured in the book Fatal System Error.[22] He provided details and helped coordinate with multinational law enforcement groups which resulted in the capture of Ivan Maksakov, Alexander Petrov, and Denis Stepanov.[23] The three men were at the heart of an extortion ring which was extorting money from banks, Internet casinos, and other web-based businesses. Reported damages caused by Maksakov, Petrov, and Stenanov range in the tens of millions of dollars. On October 8, 2007, Maksakov, Petrov, Stenanov were found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison in the Russian Federation with a 100,000 ruble penalty.[24] Lyon also appeared on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross.[25]

Business interests[edit]

After leaving Prolexic, Lyon co-founded of BitGravity, a content delivery network and served as its chief technology officer. BitGravity was founded to provide scaled video content to replace traditional TV. Its early customers included YouTube, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox.[26][27] While at BitGravity, to lessen billing confusion regarding the definition of a GigaByte, Lyon defined an accepted billing amount, coined as the BarretByte.[28]

Lyon left BitGravity in June 2009. BitGravity was acquired in January 2011 by Tata Communications.[29]

In 2009 with funding from Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose, he founded XDN. XDN's first products provide businesses with greater control over existing content delivery networks by allowing them to use CDN's based on factors like price and service.[30] In November 2012, XDN was acquired by Fortinet.[31]

Lyon then founded Defense.Net in December 2012 to build a DDoS defense network for the modern Internet.[32] In 2014, the company was named one of the 100 Hottest Private Companies in North America by Red Herring[33] and acquired shortly after by F5 Networks purportedly for between $50 and $100 million.[34]

Lyon formerly worked as Head of Security Research and Development for U.S. telecommunications firm,[35] Neustar.[36] He has operated a Laser Production company[37] along with designing camping equipment for Alien Buffalo.[citation needed] Recently he announced a new venture Netography and currently serves as Chief Architect,[38] with seed funding from Andreesson Horowitz and Mango Capital.

Lyon was an investor in Sr. Pago, which was acquired by Konfio in 2021.[39] He is also a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS).[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stiennon, Richard (June 26, 2006). "Barrett Lyon: Internet Influencer". Zdnet. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008.
  2. ^ Newman, Lily Hay. "A Trippy Visualization Charts the Internet's Growth Since 1997". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  3. ^ "5 Questions, Answers About The Megaupload Case". NPR.
  4. ^ "Fighting Cybercrime, One Digital Thug At A Time". NPR.
  5. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 14. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  6. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 15. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  7. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 16. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  8. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 17. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  9. ^ "Mapping the World Around Us". Museum of Science. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Collection". Museum of Modern Art.
  11. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 20. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  12. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 23. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  13. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 67. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  14. ^ Menn, Joseph (2010). Fatal System Error. New York: Public Affairs Books. pp. 70. ISBN 978-1-58648-748-5.
  15. ^ Marshall, Matt (December 11, 2006). "BitGravity to shake up video delivery". VentureBeat.
  16. ^ "Akamai buying Prolexic for about $370 million". AP. Associated Press. December 2, 2013.
  17. ^ "Florida teen arrested after embarrassingly simple cyberattack on Miami schools". Gizmodo. September 6, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  18. ^ Zurier, Steve (August 28, 2020). "NYSE not susceptible to takedown like New Zealand exchange". SC Media. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  19. ^ Kirby, Stephen Babcock, Donte (September 20, 2021). "Power Moves: Sourcefire founder Martin Roesch is the new CEO of Annapolis-based Netography". Technical.ly. Retrieved April 14, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Fighting Cybercrime, One Digital Thug At A Time". Fresh Air. NPR.
  21. ^ Ratliff, Evan (October 10, 2005). "The Zombie Hunters". The New Yorker.
  22. ^ Menn, Joseph (January 26, 2010). "Fatal System Error". PublicAffairs Books. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010.
  23. ^ Berinato, Scott (May 1, 2005). "How a Bookmaker and a Whiz Kid Took On a DDOS-based Online Extortion Attack". CSO Magazine.
  24. ^ "Eight Years for Extorting Millions". Kommersant. October 4, 2006. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007.
  25. ^ "Fighting Cybercrime, One Digital Thug At A Time". NPR.
  26. ^ The Fastest-Growing Social Network for Mobile Phones, retrieved April 14, 2023
  27. ^ BitGravity challenges Akamai and Limelight ZDNet, Dan Farber. September 30, 2007
  28. ^ "The Baretbyte". Archived from the original on July 26, 2010.
  29. ^ Tata Acquires BitGravity for Content Delivery
  30. ^ Cloud computing startup 3Crowd raises $6.6 million Reuters, Alastair Goldfisher. April 23, 2010
  31. ^ Fortinet Acquires CDN and App Delivery Platform Provider XDN
  32. ^ Start-up Defense.Net debuts with anti-DDoS service Archived October 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ "2014 Red Herring North America: Winners". Red Herring. April 20, 2014.
  34. ^ Novet, Jordan (May 22, 2014). "Network company F5 buys DDoS prevention startup Defense.net". VentureBeat.
  35. ^ "Cyber attack on Mexico campaign site triggers election nerves". Reuters. June 13, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  36. ^ "Neustar Hires Barrett Lyon to Head Research and Development of Security Solutions".
  37. ^ "Megalasers". Archived from the original on September 2, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  38. ^ "Martin Roesch joins Netography as CEO". Help Net Security. September 15, 2021. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  39. ^ Lawler, Ryan (July 14, 2014). "With $1 Million In Funding, Sr.Pago Is Ready To Serve Mexico's Unbanked". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  40. ^ "Barrett Lyon - IADAS". Retrieved April 14, 2023.

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