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Want to make $1 million per month? Retire from the NSA

Published Jul 30th, 2014 9:15PM EDT
NSA's Keith Alexander Private Online Security

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Former NSA director Keith Alexander will charge companies up to $1 million a month to keep them safe from online hackers, Foreign Policy reports. Apparently Alexander and business partners from IronNet Cybersecurity have founded a new firm after leaving the government and military in March. The company supposedly offers a new technology that has a “unique” approach when it comes to detecting hackers online.

His stint at the NSA is directly responsible for many tools the organization developed to prevent cybercriminals from stealing money and/or trade secrets online, although the new product was developed in private. Alexander’s new technology will help various companies and institutions, with the former NSA boss expected to file at least nine patents to protect it. While at the NSA, he filed seven other patents related to “end-to-end cybersecurity,” and describing means of “systematically doing cybersecurity in a network.”

His new system is able to “detect so-called advanced persistent threats, or hackers who clandestinely burrow into a computer network in order to steal secrets of damage the network itself.” It’s unclear whether the technology will also catch the NSA’s tools that can be used in similar manner to collect data from unsuspecting parties.

Apparently the patents aren’t related to other technology he developed while running the agency, and the former exec has consulted with lawyers to make sure his new patents were “ironclad.”

“We’ve got a great solution. We’ve got to prove that it works,” Alexander said, revealing he already inked deals with three unmentioned companies. “It will be another way of looking at cybersecurity that gives us greater capabilities than we’ve had in the past.”

“Alexander said that his new approach is different than anything that’s been done before because it uses ‘behavioral models’ to help predict what a hacker is likely to do,” the publication writes. “Rather than relying on analysis of malicious software to try to catch a hacker in the act, Alexander aims to spot them early on in their plots. Only the market will tell whether his approach is as novel as he claims.”

Apparently, the former NSA chief did not use this privately developed technology while running the agency because one of its core components related to behavior models comes from a business partner who took a special approach to the matter, which the government did not consider.

However, an unnamed former national security official told Foreign Policy the “behavioral-model approach is highly speculative and has never been used successfully.”

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.