Cybersecurity Insights

The Joe Sullivan Case 

CEO of Ukraine Friends and President of Joe Sullivan Security LLC

Joe Sullivan is a lawyer and a CISO, and a former federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice. He served as a CSO at Facebook, Uber, and Cloudflare and as an associate general counsel at PayPal.

Sullivan co-founded the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit at the Department of Justice, DOJ, and worked there for 8 years. He served as a commissioner at the National Cyber Security Alliance for 5 years and became a board member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and co-authored the “2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.” Additionally, he was appointed as commissioner of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity by President Obama in 2016.

In August 2020, the DOJ charged him for obstruction of justice in the 2016 Uber data breaches. The criminal complaint said he arranged, with CEO Travis Kalanick’s knowledge, to pay a ransom disguised as a “bug bounty,” and falsified non-disclosure agreements with the hackers to say they had not obtained any data. In December 2021, he faced additional charges of wire fraud.

In 2022, Sullivan was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice and one count of misprision of felony and sentenced to three years of probation and a million hours of community service. This prosecution represented the first United States federal prosecution of a CISO for the handling of a data breach.

In 2023, he took on the role of CEO of Ukraine Friends, a nonprofit focused on humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Sullivan joined us today to share his perspective on the Uber trial and to offer guidance for future CISOs.

The security leader is accountable for the words that their company says about security to third parties, even if their security leader never actually personally saw the words and reviewed...


In this episode of Cybersecurity Insights, Joe discusses:    

  • His perspective on what transpired; 
  • How this verdict impacted his life; 
  • Insights and advice for future CISOs and those currently holding the role in light of the verdict; 
  • And much more. 

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