Yahoo Names Former Twitter Security Director as New 'Paranoid-in-Chief'

The internet giant names Bob Lord as new Chief Information Security Officer.

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Oct 26 2015, 11:45am

Bob Lord, former head of security at Twitter, is now the new "Paranoid-in-Chief" at Yahoo.

The internet giant, which boasts one billion users, announced the hire of Lord on Monday. Lord will be Yahoo's new Chief Information Security Officer, leading the company's security division and its employees, internally known as the "Paranoids," starting Nov. 9.

"I've worked at scale before, but the opportunity to work at Yahoo scale was almost a little bit too hard to pass up," Lord told Motherboard in a phone interview on Sunday. "I want to work at a company where security is treated as a first class citizen."

Lord replaces Alex Stamos, who left Yahoo at the end of June to go to Facebook. Stamos's departure came after he helped Yahoo finish its push to encrypt some of its core services and pushed the company to implement an easy-to-use plugin to allow email users end-to-end encryption.

"The opportunity to work at Yahoo scale was almost a little bit too hard to pass up."

While replacing Stamos is "a really tough act to follow," as Lord put it, his resume suggests he's up to the task.

In 1996, Lord was the first security hire at Netscape, and he later led the web pioneer's security team. He then spent six years leading security at AOL. In 2010, after a stint at enterprise open source giant Red Hat, Twitter hired him as the company's first security employee. Two years later, Lord was named Director of Information Security at the micro-blogging platform.

Lord said that his goals will be informed mostly by his experience at Twitter, when the company had to make several decisions following its motto of being the free speech wing of the free speech party, and one of its ten core values being "defend and respect the user's voice."

At Yahoo, he said his main goal will be to "help protect the users and help provide a safe environment for them."

Lord didn't provide many details of what his intentions are regarding Yahoo's most ambitious project, the end-to-end encryption plugin, but he said that he has "a long history of building products that allow people to communicate securely." In fact, at AOL he helped design and patent a secure messaging system.

When I asked him whether he's going to take the title of "Paranoid in Chief," Lord laughed, and said he still has to think about it. He also added that, maybe, he'll simply have the "suspicious" ASCII emoticon on his business card: ¬_¬.