Cyber chief Chris Krebs: ‘You find out who your friends are’

World

Cyber chief Chris Krebs: ‘You find out who your friends are’

The tech security expert on being fired by Trump and why we are struggling to keep up with the hackers

Kiran Stacey

If there is one upside to having been publicly fired by former US president Donald Trump, Chris Krebs reflects towards the end of our lunch, it is that some of his neighbours have started talking to him again. 

Picking over tapas outside an upmarket Spanish restaurant on a wintry Washington day, we have spent two hours dissecting Krebs’s past four years, which were tumultuous even by the heady standards of the Trump administration. 

Joining the federal government in 2017, he was later appointed as its first cyber security tsar, in charge of defending the US against foreign and domestic cyber attacks and disinformation. Krebs is credited with helping companies keep working through the coronavirus pandemic and overseeing two successful and secure national elections — the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential election. But when he started to rebut the former president’s claims that last year’s vote had been rigged, he promptly found himself out of a job and facing death threats from Trump’s most ardent supporters...

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