The price of personal security for directors of the largest IT companies per year
In the documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (The United States Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC), there are data from IT companies on the financial annual expenditures on the organization of protection and multi-level security systems, both physical and informational their top managers. The upper ceiling of such spending aspires to 10 million dollars a year.
The largest IT companies in Silicon Valley annually plan in their budget huge items of expenditures to protect their intellectual property.
Some of these companies also allocate significant amounts to organize comprehensive protection and special security measures for their management.
According to data from Apple, filed with the SEC this month, the company spent about $ 310,000 in fiscal year 2017 to provide a set of personal security measures for CEO Tim Cook. But this is only a small part of the cost, compared with the spending of other technological giants on such an item in their budgets.
At Amazon and Oracle, they spent about $ 1.6 million, judging from the financial report for the year, to organize protective measures for Jeff Bezos and Larry Ellison, respectively, according to documents filed with the SEC.
At Alphabet, the parent company of the giant Google, spent over $ 600,000 to protect CEO Sundar Pichai and almost $ 300,000 on security measures for the former executive chairman, Eric Schmidt.
In 2017, Intel spent $ 1.2 million to organize the security of former CEO Brian Krzhanic.
Apple, Google, Intel and Oracle declined to comment; Amazon did not even respond to a request for comment.
Who is in the first place in the top-ranking of the costs of personal security for their leadership?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to the SEC, is the most expensive of the leaders of top IT companies, judging by the cost of organizing his personal security.
Facebook has budgeted about $ 7.3 million to organize security measures for Mark Zuckerberg in 2017, and in the summer of 2018, Facebook told its investors that it plans to increase these annual spending to $ 10 million.
For comparison, in 2013, spending on Mark Zuckerberg’s security cost Facebook only $ 2.6 million.
That's about as much as Facebook spent in this fiscal year to protect their COO, Sheryl Sandberg.
A company spokesman for Facebook declined to comment, pointing out the submissions to the SEC, where it appears that Facebook’s board committee approved a special “general security program” for Mark Zuckerberg, which includes a multi-level security system “to solve security problems due to specific threats its security. "
This protection system includes the installation and maintenance of special devices for organizing security in Mark Zuckerberg’s home and guest residences (physical protection of the perimeter and internal elements, alarm, video surveillance and security, information security), as well as the costs of maintaining special security personnel there.
A Facebook company said in a statement: “We believe that the cost of this generic security program for Mark Zuckerberg is adequate and necessary at this time.”
Security experts suggest that such a planned increase in costs for organizing the maintenance of Mark Zuckerberg’s hanging security level in 2018 is probably due to a wave of public criticism that hit Facebook after a scandal involving the British company Cambridge Analytica.
Cambridge Analytica allegedly accessed data from 87 million Facebook social network users and used it to manipulate voter sentiment during the presidential election race in the USA in 2016. On this issue, Mark Zuckerberg had to testify on the topic of data protection of Facebook social network users in the US Congress.
According to a comment by Arnett Heinz (director of security consulting firm Hillard Heintze), the amount of $ 10 million to protect Mark Zuckerberg is probably currently considered one of the biggest expenditure items among Fortune 500 companies (500 world’s largest). companies) spent on organizing security for one person.
“I would put this amount of 10 million dollars in the top five of the highest costs in the country. And judging by the way the press chews every step and the actions of Facebook now, this level of costs seems justified. When Mark Zuckerberg was preparing to testify before Congress, I can imagine an increased level of danger. If you have 2 billion users, and only 1% of them can get angry, then you can start receiving a lot of threatening emails from them and not only. People and special systems that are responsible for the personal and information security of a client of this level must take this high level of risk into account, ”explains Arnett Heinz.
Arnett Heinz had worked in the US secret service for twenty years before going into the private sector. As practice has shown, many employees of security services in IT companies often come there, having a great experience in the special services behind their shoulders.
According to LinkedIn, one employee in the executive protection department of Facebook company spent twelve years working in the US secret service, and another officer spent several years in Europe, working in the protection division of the NATO secretary general.
Another example, according to a LinkedIn profile, one of Google’s employees working in the company's employee protection department, worked as a special agent in the US Department of Defense for eight years.
Kent Moyer, head of security companies World Protection Group and 001, headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, whose pool of clients includes billionaires as well as IT executives from many companies.
His arsenal of protection services, representing Kent Moyer's companies, include bodyguards, security systems, unmanned vehicles for patrolling the perimeters and external areas of clients' apartments, armored tuples, as well as extensive information and electronic measures to ensure confidentiality and data preservation.
Kent Moyer advises his clients and their families:
- not to use your real names and data in any social networks,
- acquire houses and other large assets in the name of a specially created company, and not as an individual (common practice in Silicon Valley),
- use special applications with encryption, sending any text messages,
- register separate social accounts with social media accounts email addresses and phone numbers
- use credit cards registered under fictitious names.
“There were cases when clients sent me ordinary text messages to the phone, and I called them back and stated that I didn’t want to communicate with them that way, using the usual open method of sending messages,” says Kent Moyer.
Here is an example for this, a week later, after Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos wrote on Twitter that he and his wife, Mackenzie Bezos, were about to get divorced, some excerpts from text messages were sent to National Enquirer Jeff Bezos to another woman.
“We don’t allow our customers to use regular phones,” says Moyer, “we give them special anonymous phones, and we also recommend you keep personal phones and equipment in special cases like Faraday bag .”
His company also recommends using VPN services to communicate in order to hide the exact location of their devices from other users and information systems, as well as to use search engines that do not track or save user data.
Arnett Heinz also says that the attention paid to details and brought into the life of the client by safety measures is often inconvenient for the protected.
“I can assure you that in all of America there is no director of the company who would like the guard and special means to constantly surround him. In fact, it is an invasion that causes inconvenience. But this is a necessary inconvenience for people of this level who may be threatened by constantly emerging negative external factors, ”said Arnett Heinz.
Most IT companies in Silicon Valley do not disclose to the public many data on emerging and prevented security threats and events that could have been committed against their managers and office staff, many IT companies have good reason to take extra precautions and plan annual expenditures in their budgets for this article.
For example, in December last year, Facebook evacuated its headquarters after receiving the threat of an explosion.
In April 2018, a disgruntled YouTube user entered YouTube’s San Bruno headquarters (only 32 miles from Google’s main campus), California, started shooting and inflicted gunshot wounds to three company employees before committing suicide.
The “easy-to-maintain security” principle works in YouTube offices: you can pass through the door using badges, and there is a reception in the main lobby. There are no metal detectors or armed guards.
Much earlier, on May 26, 1992, in the Mountain View, USA, President of Adobe Systems Company Charles Geschke was abducted. He was released on May 31 after paying a redemption of $ 650,000. The abductors were detained through organized action by the FBI.