Executive Spotlight: Q&A with Lead Scientist & Sr. Principal Engineer, Christiaan Beek

Tips & Advice

Welcome back to our executive blog series, where I chat with some of the pivotal players behind McAfee Enterprise and the Advanced Threat Research Team to hear their takes on today’s security trends, challenges, and opportunities for companies across the globe.

Q: What got you interested in technology and threat research?

As a little kid, I was always fascinated by technology. I would wrench open devices to study the inner workings, and try to assemble again. At age 12 I worked for three years to assemble my first computer-setup: a Commodore 64, disk-drive, and printer followed by an Amiga with modem. From that point, it was a journey from sysadmin to ethical hacking into specializing in digital forensics and joining FoundStone to setup their EMEA Incident Response team. As I witnessed multiple malware incidents and later some of the largest cyber-attacks ever, I got fascinated by all the mechanics around threat research. From this, I made a move to lead and envision new ways (threat) research can assist both responders and customers.

Q: If you could relive any moment of your life, which would it be?

Good question. There are so many moments to be thankful for that I cannot choose one but will mention a few that might sound obvious: My baptism, marrying my wife, and the birth of my kids.

Q: What are some of the trends you are currently noticing across the threat landscape?

Of course, we still have ransomware around as an ongoing issue that keeps evolving and impacting not only companies around the world, but also our lives more and more when fuel is not available, supermarkets are closed, and delivery of goods cannot be executed. Secondly, I would say the volume and number of attacks that happen have increased dramatically over the years. The moment a vulnerability is announced, within days, a proof-of-concept is available and within a week it is used by adversaries (either cybercrime or nation-state motivated). The feedback from our customers has been tremendously positive.

Q: How do you react to constantly changing threats in the market?

The only way to respond to the constant changing threats is to be flexible and willing to change. What works today might not work tomorrow, which should be part of your strategy when it comes to threat hunting, threat detection, and protection. My team is eager to learn and we are committed to protect our customers, innovate new research techniques, and adapt that into our technology.

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