Andrew Hay

Today marks my first steps as the Senior Security Research Lead & Evangelist at OpenDNS. When I announced my transition from my previous role at CloudPassage I received a lot of interest through social networks, phone calls, and emails. That is to say, lots of nibbles but only a few bites. As per the guidelines of unwritten “Canadian Code”, Dan Hubbard, CTO at OpenDNS, reached out to me on LinkedIn to explore an opportunity he had open on the OpenDNS Security Labs team.

From one Canadian to another I thought I would reach out and see if your interests map to ours.” – Dan Hubbard, CTO, OpenDNS

It turns out, our interests did map. Dan had a stable of well respected and incredibly smart researchers in Frank Denis, Dhia Mahjoub, Thibault Reuille, and Ping Yan. The community moderator working behind the scenes to get customer questions answered, Vinny LaRiza, was also on the team. After sitting down with Dan and the team to figure out the research agenda, direction, and objectives I jumped at the opportunity to work at OpenDNS.

So what am I going to be doing, you might ask? In addition to thought leadership activities like blogging, public speaking, and evangelizing Umbrella research, I’m also going to be working with team members on proof-of-concept and experimental methods and algorithms for large-scale threat classification. Another part of my role is helping the team scale. This includes, but is not limited to, systems, process, and hiring the best and the brightest.

Returning to my forensics and incident response roots, I’m once again getting the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and reverse engineer malicious code, analyze network traffic, and disseminate the intelligence back into our products and research community in the form of white papers, presentations, and tools.

I haven’t been this excited to work at a company in a long time. I’ve also never walked into an office where everyone is genuinely happy throughout the day and even the week. The sense of community and belonging within the company is refreshingly welcoming and makes me want to get out of bed in the morning – one of the most important parts of any career in my opinion. I’m really excited to be working on a team that works with every other team at the company including, but not limited to, engineering, support, product, sales, and marketing.

As I look at my list of projects to hit the ground running on I can confidently say this: Expect great things from me, the research team, and everyone else at OpenDNS in the coming months. The plans that we have for the research agenda, special projects, and other fun stuff will not be easy to accomplish…but if it were easy someone would have done it already.

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