Cylance Vice President John McClurg reflects on his time working in Cyber Defence

Cylance Vice President John McClurg reflects on his time working in Cyber Defence

In The Boardroom With…
Mr John McClurg
Vice President in the Office of Security and Trust (OST)

John McClurg joins Cylance with a diverse history of academic, government, and business experience. Most recently at Dell, McClurg led strategy and tactical operations for internal global security services and improved the effectiveness and efficiency of security initiatives. Prior to Dell, McClurg was CSO for Honeywell International, where he led internal physical and cyber global security services. McClurg has also served in the U.S. government where, as a special agent in the FBI, he supported the missions of numerous government agencies, including those of the CIA, DOD, and DOE, battling terrorism, cybercrime, and espionage. Thank you for joining us today, John and congratulations on your new position at Cylance. Before discussing today’s cybersecurity threat environment and Cylance solutions in greater detail, please tell us about your background.

John McClurg:  As you look across the spectrum of my professional life, what characterizes the experiences is the fact that I’ve been living in the world of the reactive:

As a young FBI agent, I was assigned to one of the first Joint Terrorism Task Force teams that the United States federal government pulled together to battle the emerging threat of terrorism. I worked with teams that responded to attacks including the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Unabomber, who was apprehended in 1996, and the Pam Am Flight 103 Lockerbie bombing in 1998.  During that same time, I also successfully pursued hackers and phreakers, the latter being a subset that focuses on telecommunications systems, especially to obtain free calls.

I then entered the realm of espionage. I was a member of the team that identified and pursued Harold James Nicholson, the former CIA officer and a twice-convicted spy for Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, SVR.

In all my years of learning and real-world experience, what fascinates me is that since our nation’s founding, protection from threats has been a priority. Yet during that entire time, the models have been reactive.  Cyberattacks, whether from a foreign government, a sophisticated hacker group, or lone wolf, are in the headlines just about every day now. Unintentional insider threats are an equally serious problem where employees or other users might innocently click on phishing messages, visit nefarious websites, run risky or outdated software, or fall into any number of other traps. Please share with us your thoughts on “best practices” in today’s world of IoT, mobility and BYOD.

John McClurg:  I think when you talk best practices in the traditional sense, you’re still using language that’s framed or influenced by old paradigms, meaning the language of “reactive detection.” For most, predictive capabilities stand outside traditional best practices. It’s a completely different game. It’s a new world.

Read the full interview here.

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