German cybersecurity chief fired after reports of Russian intelligence ties to US security agencies
A top cybersecurity executive has been fired following an investigation into a series of security breaches at the nation’s top military contractors.
Michael Beckley was placed on leave last year over his role in the hackings which cost the US more than $2 billion in 2014.
Now, he is facing a criminal investigation from the State Department for failing to disclose his ties to Russian military intelligence officers.
Russian cyberattacks against US military contractors, like the 2014 Sony hack, are on the rise
Michael Beckley, the head of cybersecurity for the US government, was one of the key figures in the 2014 hacks. Pictured above at the 2014 RSA cybersecurity conference
‘Russian intelligence officers’
He began his career in the Navy and was deployed to the Middle East for work.
His last job was at CyberArk, a cybersecurity firm which has helped US military contractors secure their information systems against cyberattacks.
The company was forced to resign last year when it was revealed security footage of its employees was being used to blackmail the firm into taking a large pay-off.
He left CyberArk to become the chief of cybersecurity for the US Department of State, a post that included overseeing the efforts of the National Security Agency.
This is not the first time Beckley has left a job under fire amid a security breach.
A year before that, he helped out when CyberArk lost control of its servers to a disgruntled insider.
That attack hit the company from all sides – from its former contractor employees as well as from the hackers who managed to get into the system.
They even managed to delete the company’s corporate records from the system.
A cyberattack on the Pentagon on Wednesday led to the closure of seven secure federal services, including the Defense Information Systems Agency.
In 2013, Beckley helped his co-workers to launch what was billed as the first commercial-grade cyberattack on a US agency.
The company targeted the Office of Personnel Management – which is responsible for processing security clearance applications for federal employees with access to sensitive material.
The attack led to a data breach that exposed