Christopher Painter is a globally recognized leader and expert on cybersecurity and cyber policy, cyber diplomacy and combating cybercrime. He has been on the vanguard of U.S. and international cyber issues for over thirty years—first as a prosecutor of some of the most high-profile cybercrime cases in the United States, and then as a senior official at the Department of Justice, the FBI, the National Security Council and the State Department. Since leaving the U.S. government in late 2017, he continues to serve in a number of leadership roles related to cyber issues in addition to performing consulting and advisory work.
Mr. Painter served in the White House from 2009-2011 as Senior Director for Cyber Policy in the National Security Council. He was a senior member of the team that conducted the President’s Cyberspace Policy Review in 2009 and subsequently helped create and then structure a new directorate in the National Security Council devoted to these issues. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Painter prosecuted, among others, notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick, one of the first wide-spread distributed denial of service attacks and the first Internet stock manipulation cases. He also chaired the G8 (and then G7) High-Tech Crime Group for over ten years and helped lead the case and policy efforts at the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.
In his most recent government role as the United States’ top cyber diplomat, Mr. Painter coordinated and led the United States’ diplomatic efforts to advance an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet and information infrastructure. The pioneering office that Mr. Painter established — the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues — was the first high-level position and office dedicated to advancing the diplomatic aspects of cyber issues including national security, incident response, public-private partnerships and human rights matters.
Among other things, Mr. Painter is currently the President of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation (a multi-stakeholder international organization dedicated to cybersecurity capacity building), serves on the board (and chairs the board’s risk committee) of the Center for Internet Security, is a non-resident Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, and is a member of the Public Sector Advisory Council for Palo Alto Networks. He is also a co-chair of the Ransomware Task Force and served as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. He has written extensively about various cybersecurity issues, is frequently quoted in the media, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on a number of occasions. He has also given a large number of presentations and speeches about a range of cyber issues – including cyber threats and how to deal with them — to businesses, government and other organizations and has performed consulting work on cybersecurity issues.
Mr. Painter received The Order of the Rising Sun from the Government of Japan for promoting U.S-Japan cyber cooperation in 2018 and received the Order of Terra Mariana from the President of Estonia in 2020 for promoting cyber cooperation. He was named the Bartels World Affairs Fellow by Cornell University for 2017-2018 and is also the recipient of the RSA Award for Excellence in the Field of Public Policy (2016), and the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service (the U.S. Justice Department’s highest honor). He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Cornell University and clerked for US Circuit Judge Betty Fletcher.