updated 05:05 pm EST, Sat January 22, 2011
Apple gets Navy guru David Rice as security head
Apple has quietly hired David Rice as its Global Director of Security, multiple insiders said on Saturday. The now former Monterey Group executive director built most of his experience as a cryptology officer in the US Navy and was also a Global Network Vulnerability analyst for the NSA. AllThingsD noted that he might be best known in public for Geekonomics, a 2007 book that argued computer security vulnerabilities represented genuine threats to US infrastructure and that companies should be liable for the damage done by unpatched exploits.
Exact plans for Rice weren't mentioned by the tips, but an investigation of Rice's colleagues and friends suggested he might help drive Apple's recent push to gain legitimacy in enterprise. The new hire reportedly has both genuine knowledge as well as the ability to reassure a company CIO, a technique key to landing large corporate deals.
Apple wouldn't officially comment on the position, but Rice would begin his duties in March.
The hire if acknowledged would signal a deeper drive into security that could affect both home users and the enterprise. Although Apple has had far fewer active malware threats, it has been criticized for being relatively slow to patch vulnerabilities. Microsoft officially schedules security updates once a month in addition to patching against emergency, zero-day threats. Apple only sporadically issues security updates and most often reserves them for either urgent matters or as part of its usual OS point releases.
iOS has been as much of a priority due to its rapid adoption and is now used in over 80 percent of the Fortune 100. RIM was once the largely uncontested leader in enterprise mobile adoption but has seen its base eroded slightly as a few companies have either switched to the iPhone or else given workers the option of using their own choice of device. It has the early lead in tablets and just recently delivered a symbolic hit to RIM by choosing iPads over PlayBooks for a trial program.
The company has periodically made hires reflecting its new commitment, such as former OLPC security lead Ivan Krstic, Mozilla's own security head Window Snyder and the CTO for PGP Jon Callas have all signed on within the past two years.