The tech executive referenced in the criminal case against leading cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was identified Thursday as an industry pioneer who’s founded the world’s first commercial internet hosting company, is an expert in detecting malware and holds 10 patents.
Rodney Joffe is the person referred to as “Tech Executive-1” in Sussman’s indictment for allegedly lying to the FBI by withholding his connections to Hillary Clinton’s losing 2016 election campaign against former President Donald Trump, according to CNN.
Joffe, who’s not accused of any wrongdoing, “retained Sussman as his lawyer” in February 2015 in connection with an unspecified “matter involving an agency of the US government,” according to the indictment.
Sussman’s indictment is part of special counsel John Durham’s probe of the FBI investigation into claims that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials.
Joffe’s LinkedIn profile says he retired earlier this month as senior vice president and chief technology officer for security at Neustar Inc., a Reston, Va.-based company that provides various internet-related services and products to more than 8,000 commercial and government clients around the world.
Earlier, he founded the UltranDNS Corp., the first cloud-based company to develop and market the “domain name” services that translate numerical internet addresses into memorable names that can be typed into a browser, which was bought by Neustar in 2006 for nearly $62 million in cash.
Joffe also founded and was chief technology officer of Genuity, which was the first company to offer commercial hosting services that allow people and companies to create and maintain websites without running their own computer servers connected to the internet.
In 2013, he became one of the first civilians to be awarded the FBI Director’s Award for Cybersecurity, according to his profile on the Forbes website.
That honor involved the discovery of malicious software dubbed the “Butterfly Botnet,” which infected more than 11 million computers around the world and led to the theft of credit card, banking and other information that caused more than $850 million in losses before being stopped.
Joffe’s other honors include the 2016 Mary Litynski Lifetime Achievement Award from M3AAWG, the global Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group.
Joffe’s patents include innovations for establishing secure internet domain names and detecting compromised computer networks.
In 2015, he was among the cyber experts who called for the firing of Katherine Archuleta as director of the Office of Personnel Management under then-President Barack Obama in the wake of a massive cyberattack on OPM’s computer network.
Suspected Chinese hackers swiped the personal information of more than 22 million current and former government workers in one of the biggest cyberattacks in history.
“This is not a security thing,” Joffe told The Hill at the time.
“As a manager, she should have been managing the process, and she didn’t…If you put a program in place, you have to make sure the metrics you set are acceptable.”
Archuleta, a former teacher who was Obama’s 2012 national political director, was later forced to resign.
According to Sussmann’s indictment, Joffe “retained Sussman as his lawyer in 2015 days after Trump’s victory, Joffe emailed someone and said, “I was tentatively offered the top [cybersecurity] job by the Democrats when it looked like they’d win.”
“I definitely would not take the job under Trump,” he added.