Executives from SolarWinds, Microsoft, FireEye and CrowdStrike are about to grill in the US Senate


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Exterior of SolarWinds headquarters in Austin


By Raphael Satter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top executives at Texas-based software company SolarWinds Corp, a digital giant Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ 🙂 and cybersecurity firms FireEye (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc and CrowdStrike Holdings (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc are expected to defend their companies’ responses to a range of violations alleged by Russian hackers when they appear before the Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday of the US Senate.

The four are expected to advocate more or even mandatory transparency in the national response to cyber espionage, which has long been hampered by secrecy and the widespread reluctance of organizations to publicly identify themselves as victims of hacking.

The four companies are key players in responding to a spectacular series of tamperings that allowed suspected Russian spies to run amok over American networks, putting a total of nine federal agencies and 100 private sector companies at risk, including Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, described as “the greatest and most subtle attack the world has ever seen”.

Smith was due to testify on Tuesday. The others were Kevin Mandia, chief executive of FireEye, whose company first discovered the hackers, Sudhakar Ramakrishna, chief executive of SolarWinds, whose software was hijacked by the spies to break into a variety of other organizations, and George Kurtz, chief executive of CrowdStrike. whose company SolarWinds is helping to recover from the vulnerability.

She and others have suggested that the true scope of the violations is far greater than is publicly known, in part because embarrassed executives from other companies try to keep their role in the cyber espionage campaign a secret.

According to an excerpt from its pre-published testimony, Microsoft is supposed to tell Smith that “too many cyber attack victims are keeping information to themselves” and adding, “It is imperative for the nation that we encourage, and sometimes require, better information sharing about cyberattacks.”

SolarWinds’ Ramakrishna is expected to urge lawmakers to provide companies with “the appropriate incentives and liability safeguards to share more information about attempted or successful violations” with the government.

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