When online technology evangelists began chatting up Dr. Paul Judge about the promise of e-commerce in the late 1990s, he couldn't get one thought out of his head: With all that money trading hands, criminals were sure to come knocking.
After researching the issue for several years, and following stints at NASA and IBM, Judge helped found messaging security specialist CipherTrust in 2000. There Judge developed an e-mail reputation system, TrustedSource, designed to protect e-mail servers from spam, phishing attempts, and other malicious messages. Secure Computing purchased CipherTrust for $273.6 million in July 2006, at which time Judge became CTO of Secure Computing.
The lead inventor of 18 patent-pending security technologies and a 2003 member of MIT Technology Review's 100 Top Young Innovators, Judge, now 30, says his ongoing work to keep online attackers at bay and to preserve companies' electronic operations remains an exciting pursuit.
Having spent considerable time in his career advising federal agencies and financial services companies about IT security, Judge said that he's witnessed firsthand the massive upswing in financially motivated crime that has swept across the Web over the last several years.
As he works to help Secure Computing build its next-generation messaging security applications -- which will include functions that help prevent legitimate sites from getting caught up in the torrent of online malware and fraud -- the CTO says it's the challenge of outmaneuvering the smart guys under the black hats that keeps his competitive fires lit.
"I never cease to be surprised by the skill level on the other side. I think of all the people on my team and how much time they have spent researching these problems we're dealing with, and there is inevitably someone on the other side who understands what we're doing well enough to tweak their code and have success with attacks," Judge says. "It continues to amaze me every day, as we have breakthroughs, there are people with similar backgrounds in computer science working to defeat us, whose work is being fueled by criminals stealing money."