Amit Yoran is a cybersecurity wizard who moves at will among the highest echelons of
corporate cyberspying technology and federal intelligence/security
He started his career at the Department of Defense, where he ran a program that tested the vulnerability of the Pentagon’s computer systems in the 1990s. He left in 1998 to start his own company with his brother. That firm, Riptech Inc., created a data-mining program so successful that it was bought out in 2002 by Symantec Corp., a corporate behemoth that is not only one of the largest U.S. defense contractors, but also the provider of the most popular line of anti-viral software, Norton Antivirus. Among its founders is Marvin Bush, the brother of President George W. Bush. In 2003 Yoran became the Director of Cyber Security for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He quit abruptly in less than a year, without publicly revealing why he did so.
After quitting, he joined the boards of several cybersecurity companies, including Cyota, Inc., a privately held company that developed fraud and hacking-detection software for banks. In December 2005, 11 months after Yoran joined Cyota, RSA Security Inc. bought it for $145 million.
Yoran did not stay in the private sector for long. In early 2006, he was named CEO of In-Q-Tel, the firm created by the CIA reportedly to accelerate security solutions for the agency. Yoran quit after four months to “spend more time with his family.”
As of 2008, he continues to straddle the private and public sectors. In November 2006, Yoran became CEO of NetWitness, which sells software that conducts virtual stake-outs on computer networks. The company’s press material says that it developed its software “in collaboration with the U.S. Intelligence Community.” NetWitness is a subsidiary of ManTech International, which in 2006 was 21st on the Washington Technology list of Top 100 federal contractors, with deals worth $631,379,535.
Yoran is also on the board of directors of Guidance Software, which makes a program that conducts digital investigations of computer networks, as well as individual personal computers.