Amid growing attention on information security with Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal attracting headlines every single day since the last weekend, it appears several high profile security chiefs are abandoning ships. Twitter and Google are the latest tech companies to see their security executives leaving.
Twitter spokesperson confirmed that Michael Coates, who joined the platform in 2015 as the company's chief information security officer, is leaving. Coates also tweeted about it last night.
Twitter has been an amazing ride, but as I mentioned internally a few weeks back, my time is coming to an end. I’m confident to leave the program with an amazing security team. What’s next? I’m off to co-found a security startup - hope to share more about what we’re doing soon!
— Michael Coates (@_mwc) March 21, 2018
The move has apparently nothing to do with the Facebook scandal as it was known internally for about three weeks.
But he isn't the only high-ranking information security executive leaving, as Facebook, Twitter and Google all appear to be in the same situation. Just hours before Coates confirmed his departure, Michael Zalewski, director of information security engineering at Google, announced his own departure from Google after about 11 years with the company. [He isn't Google's chief security officer, but a prominent executive who led the Google Vulnerability Reward Program.]
So, after almost 11 years, I'm gonna be leaving Google by the end of the month. It's been a fun ride.
— lcamtuf (@lcamtuf) March 21, 2018
Earlier in the week, the NYT reported that Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, was planning to leave the social networking giant in August. It was later clarified that Stamos' departure was also planned before the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Stamos is one of the most well-respected security executives who often has to push the company executives for more pro-user policies. He has had problems with both Yahoo - his former employer - and Facebook leadership over policies that could hurt user privacy. He left Yahoo after the company approved a secret email search tool for the US government.
While all these three departures appear to be unrelated to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, they do arrive at a time when all eyes are on information security and data protection. With US and UK governments calling for legislation to regulate tech companies and users demanding more transparency over how their personally identifiable data is shared with third party companies they have never heard about before, it seems Silicon Valley's top security executives aren't in for any more of this fun.