Former NSA executive Jacob DePriest now heads GitHub’s security operations

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GitHub has announced that former NSA (National Security Agency) senior executive Jacob DePriest is now heading its security operations.

Open source evangelist DePriest built the NSA’s Developer Experience from scratch and helped the agency’s developers contribute to the work of others. The NSA’s historically lengthy approval process was reduced from weeks to mere hours in some cases.

A 2019 post on the US Intelligence Careers website explains why DePriest has a long-standing passion for open source:

“One of the reasons DePriest champions open source so passionately is because he knows that many serious developers love open source work, and he wants those developers to join NSA, contribute to national security AND engage with the open source community.”

DePriest’s passion for open source and the developer community – combined with his experience in one of the world’s most advanced security agencies – makes him a perfect fit to lead GitHub’s Security Operations team.

In a LinkedIn post, DePriest explains there were two words behind his decision to join GitHub:

  • Passion. Those that know me, know that I’m passionate about helping developers, open source software, and security. Much of my time at NSA was spent building developer tools, improving the developer experience, and advocating for more open source engagement. I spent years working on developer security, zero trust, and enterprise security, balancing practical security considerations with enabling developer productivity. GitHub is home to the world’s software and serves over 65 million developers from around the world. I can’t think of a better place to continue to contribute to the things I love.
  • Impact. The reason I worked so long in the public sector was about impact – the opportunity to make my country and the world a better place. For software developers and arguably software in general, there is no company on earth that has the potential for more impact than GitHub. When GitHub rolls out a new feature like code scanning or dependency review, it can have immediate, global impact to millions of repositories. I’m humbled to take part in the continued efforts to make software more secure and for GitHub to be a safe and trusted platform for developers and enterprises. 

GitHub is home to over 65 million developers so it’s vital to be both secure as a platform while also being a vehicle to drive wider security improvements. In a time when the cybersecurity threat landscape is evolving so rapidly, DePriest has a huge responsibility—but one that he’s more than qualified to handle.

(Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash)

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