Facebook hires Yahoo’s security chief and anti-snooping crusader Alex Stamos

A Yahoo executive who earned Silicon Valley street cred for confronting the National Security Agency is moving to Facebook.

Alex Stamos, who became Yahoo’s chief information security officer just over a year ago, announced in a Facebook post Wednesday evening that he’s making the move from Sunnyvale to Menlo Park on Monday.

When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer hired him last year, Silicon Beat wrote that “Stamos has been an outspoken critic of government surveillance and the move may help Yahoo win some credibility with security analysts who have criticized Yahoo for lagging behind other companies in adopting encryption.”

Indeed, Yahoo has gained ground on that front in the past year.

“Whether or not our users understand it, I feel it’s our responsibility to keep them safe,” Stamos said shortly after he arrived at Yahoo and announced a set of encryption measures.

Stamos also won plaudits this spring at Austin’s South by Southwest festival when he revealed the company will roll out end-to-end encryption for Yahoo Mail by the end of the year. In February, he verbally tussled with the director of the NSA during a cybersecurity conference.

Stamos wrote that he’s moving to Facebook as chief security officer because “there is no company in the world that is better positioned to tackle the challenges faced not only by today’s Internet users but for the remaining 2/3rds of humanity we have yet to connect. The Facebook security team has demonstrated a history of innovation as well as a unique willingness to share those innovations with the world, and we will build upon that history in the years to come.”

He also had kind parting words for Yahoo, noting he had a “wonderful time” there and that the Yahoo Paranoids — the company’s IT security team — “truly live up to their legend.” Vice profiled that team and its “paranoid-in-chief” Stamos earlier this month.

Stamos previously worked for the security firm Artemis, was a lead organizer of the anti-snooping TrustyCon and has been a “well-known expert on Internet infrastructure, cloud computing and mobile security,” as Yahoo pointed out when it first hired him. He has an engineering degree from UC Berkeley.

Above: Screenshot of Alex Stamos’ profile on Facebook, which he joins as chief security officer on Monday.

 

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