Amanda Stewart took the stage at last week’s RSA cybersecurity conference with her presentation stored on a silver USB drive that hung from a delicate necklace. In heels and an elegant black and white dress, she seemed like an unlikely soldier in the war against cybercrime–until she unleashed a highly technical talk on the challenges posed by DLL side-loading, a hard-to-spot tactic used by sophisticated attackers.
Ms. Stewart’s presentation grew from her work as a malware research engineer at FireEye, the Silicon Valley company that’s among the leaders in the suddenly red-hot cybersecurity business. “We think of her as one of our Navy SEALS,” says Rob Rachwald, FireEye’s senior director of market research.
That’s not just hyperbole: Before Ms. Stewart became a FireEye SEAL, she was a foot soldier for the government, reverse engineering malware and tracking hackers on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cyber Crime Center.