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Former U.S. policy chief joins cyber firm's board

Apr. 10, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By ZACHARY FRYER-BIGGS   |   Comments
James Miller, former Pentagon policy chief, will join cybersecurity firm Endgame.
James Miller, former Pentagon policy chief, will join cybersecurity firm Endgame. (Courtesy)
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Endgame, the cybersecurity firm most famous for selling information about system vulnerabilities, has added former Pentagon policy chief James Miller to its advisory board.

Miller, speaking before the announcement, said that after leaving the Pentagon earlier this year, he wanted to focus on cyber issues.

“It’s one [area] that I did want to spend a significant amount of time on,” he said. “Technologies and policy issues have often been intertwined, and you see that happen if you go back in time in the [1940s], you see that happen in a big way as nuclear weapons come on the scene, you see that as long-range missiles come on the scene, as we went into outer space and certainly with cyberspace.

“Because cyber is so important to both our military and our economy and society, and it’s so dynamic, it’s an area with not just continued technical innovation, but continued development of policies at all levels.”

Miller has been working as president of Adaptive Strategies, a consulting firm, since joining the private sector. His decision to join the board of Endgame comes as the company works to retool its image as a security company focused on analytics. Previously, the company had built a reputation for developing advanced tools to recognize system vulnerabilities, and to provide what some called target maps of networks. The latter was included in a tool called Bonesaw.

Although much of the business it did with the federal government resided in the intelligence community and therefore was secretive, the company was highly regarded for its technical prowess in helping various three-letter US agencies.

But in the last several months, CEO Nate Fick has engaged in an aggressive media push to emphasize the group’s new tools that fit under a more traditional cybersecurity framework, and adding a former senior Pentagon official to its board furthers that narrative.

Fick, a former Marine, told Forbes in February that “The exploit business is a crummy business to be in.” He added, “If we’re going to build a top-tier security firm, we have to do things differently.”

When asked about whether the company’s history weighed on his decision to sign on with Endgame, Miller said that it was the suite of analytics tools that Endgame has developed that drew him to the company.

“The fact that the company is really focused on the analytics, and is looking to build out from its work with federal customers to commercial customers, and provide some capabilities that will improve commercial customers’ abilities ... is what interests me about the company,” he said.

“I think Endgame is a very interesting company because it’s really looking to take on some very tough challenges in terms of its data analytics platform and the functions it provides, anomaly detection, insider threats and so on,” Miller said. “It’s working on important problems, and I do think a significant amount of innovation is going to come from small companies.”

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