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Apple hires Navy, NSA expert as global security lead

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. freshh20

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    -15

    Why govt security guy?

    Too soon after meeting between Jobs and Obama. Coordination of Apple security into and in conjunction with government. Is this a way to keep back doors for the govt into Apple systems, or the other way around? Possibly increasing network security based on the governments superior knowledge. Yeah sure. Not for enterprise, Apples moving out server business. This is all about close ties into government systems and protocols. Maybe an anti terrorism play with Apple systems. I do not see this as enterprise move.

  1. prl99

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Mar 2009

    +11

    to keep Macs in the Government

    I see this as a major plus for Apple as long as he immediately starts working with NIST and Mitre, as well as DoD's DISA, to hurry up and get SCAP content available for OSX and iOS so USGCB-approved configurations can be created and made available to government Mac users. These standard and testable configurations are a requirement for all government installations and without them, Windows-centric IT managers have an easy excuse you not allowing Macs to have any presence in their facilities. The same goes with pushing to get FIPS 140-2 certification for CDMA and iOS encryption finished. Apple has security people but not enough. Since David has been a part of the USN effort, he already knows what this means and has had to deal with them on a daily basis.

  1. WalterC

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008

    0

    New apps?

    Popularity brings new friends. Anonymity on an iDevice will not exist.
    I feel safer.

  1. TheGreatButcher

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jun 2000

    +5

    comment title

    Apple means serious business on security. I approve of this move.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    security

    Apple means serious business on security. I approve of this move.

    It only means serious business if they actually try to move forward with security information. If all the guy is doing is glad-handing his way through corporations promising "It's secure, trust me", that isn't being serious about security, that's being serious about sales.

    And did it occur to anyone that his hire might be more to secure 'apple' from corporate espionage than it is OS X from hackers?

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