Movers & Shakers Interview with Mr. Ashar Aziz, Founder, CTO & CEO, FireEye Inc.

Published: 30 Jul 2012

By Cathy Huang, Industry Manager - APAC Network Security and Aliza Shima, Industry Analyst - APAC Network Security, ICT Practice

Mr. Ashar Aziz

Ashar Aziz founded FireEye in 2004 after his previous startup, Terraspring, a datacenter automation and virtualization company, was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2002. Prior to that, Mr. Aziz was a prominent engineer at Sun Microsystems for 12 years. He holds an S.B. (Scientiae Baccalaureus) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the UC Regents Fellowship.

FireEye is a Silicon Valley network security company that defends corporations and governments against targeted malicious software, or malware. Over the last few years, FireEye has led the charge in taking down and demolishing several high profile destructive botnets targeting web users. FireEye also provides security solutions to clients who include various Fortune 500 companies and departments of U.S. intelligence.

Frost & Sullivan Analysts: Can you share with our readers a brief on the genesis of FireEye and the vision for its formation?

Ashar: When I started FireEye in 2004-05, there were some prospects and blueprints for how malicious software or malware could evolve in the future and become a significant platform for a variety of offensive purposes in cyber space. Back then, most of the malware was constructed by teenage hackers and was typically of the form of viruses and worms that were built for the purpose of defacement and creating noise and destruction. It did not really have any sophisticated purpose. However, the high level concept that you could take a piece of software and plant it on somebody else's computer without their knowledge and without their permission, created a mechanism that would be extremely powerful and also dangerous to the users of the computer. Hence, we stipulated that malicious software would evolve and it would acquire cyber-crime, espionage and warfare as its purpose. When it did that, the existing techniques that are primarily detecting known attacks using signatures or known attack patterns, would become obsolete. Thus we needed a new way to find these unknown attacks in real time and that was the genesis for building FireEye in a brand new, next generation layer of technology to go detect these unseen zero-day attacks in real time.

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