Websense Hires New Security Research Leader

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Print this article Print


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The web security firm Websense's new research leader was poached from anti-virus vendor F-Secure. His work has included alerting the security community about the widespread affects of Conficker.

Websense is hoping to get a shot in the arm of innovation with the appointment of a new research leader poached from the labs of antivirus vendor F-Secure. Just under a month ago the web security firm hired Patrik Runald as senior research manager for the Websense Security Labs.

With 14 years of security research under his belt, Runald spent a decade toiling in the labs of F-Secure in order to gain a better understanding of malware for the company. Most recently, he was part of the F-Secure team responsible for helping to alert the security community and world at large about the widespread affects of Conficker.

Runald’s hiring marks a bit of a calculated gamble on the part of both him and Websense, given that most of his research thus far has centered around file-based malware rather than web-based threats.

Runald says that he chose to jump ship to the San Diego-based company given the current evolution of security threats.

"We've seen a change of malware (infections) over the last few years; how they spread, how they're kind of moving away from the traditional way of spreading and are delivered through the web through compromised websites or websites that are set up for just the purpose of spreading malware and tricking people to go there," Runald told Channel Insider. "That’s really the future of where threats are. And, really, there is no other better place to work at than Websense when you want to deal with the web."

He believes that Websense will also benefit from his previous experience in a slightly different niche of research, as he brings a new perspective to the table.

"I think I’m coming from a totally different angle of dealing with things, mostly malware," he says. "So when dealing with the web, though I’ve done some of that in my past life as well, I really look at this with fresh eyes."

His most pressing goals are to find ways to more efficiently deal with the cascading pile of information that the labs gather and in  better translating that into innovative products that Websense can deliver to customers through its partners.

"The whole point is you’re definitely going to see more Websense in the future," he says. "That’s certainly one of my plans—to really bring innovation back to the forefront and make sure that we're able to prepare customers and partners for the future."



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