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London, UK – (February 26, 2020) – SoftIron Ltd., the leader in purpose-built and performance-optimized data center appliances, announces the appointment of Mark Chen to the role of Chief Security Officer. An original co-founder of the company, Mark previously served as the company’s Chief Scientist before a professional sabbatical, and returns to lead the company’s unique secure provenance strategy, aimed at reinforcing the company’s security against root-level hardware and software compromises by both foreign and domestic actors.


The appointment of Chen to Chief Security Officer reinforces SoftIron’s commitment to providing “clear box” solutions to customers using its superior, task-specific hardware, which currently includes storage and transcoding. Chen has been active in information security and engineering for more than twenty years, with an extensive background in cryptology, e-commerce, network security, application development, and embedded systems. He will work to enhance security in the engineering, manufacturing and auditing of SoftIron’s products, which are designed, developed and assembled in California.


Chen was formerly a senior engineer and security architect for Intuit, where he designed and built the security system for the world’s first online retail banking system, and was responsible for conducting scalability, performance optimization, and failure-mode analysis on the system’s high-volume cryptographic servers. Chen enters the role of Chief Security Officer with a clear vision to boost SoftIron’s secure provenance strategy, bringing auditable transparency to every aspect of SoftIron’s hardware and software products and ensuring the integrity of critical systems and data. This mission is taking on elevated importance as governments and other organizations roll out mission-critical Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Edge Computing deployments and are looking for new strategies to secure supply chains for technology and communications networks. (News note: On February 10, 2020, The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) unveiled a new National Counterintelligence Strategy for the US, addressing modern-day threats, including “adversaries attempting to access national supply chains at multiple points by inserting malware into important information technology networks and communications systems.”)


“As computing systems become increasingly intertwined with the fabric of society, so too do root-level threats that can be used to exploit a range of critical assets such as sensitive communications, election results, and intellectual property. Developing strategic countermeasures against these threats is a priority across government and industry, but it has to start from a secure foundation: the very hardware and software we use to run these systems.  That’s where we come in,” said Phil Straw, CEO of SoftIron.


“Our customers can take great confidence in the appointment of a legendary talent like Mark Chen returning to SoftIron to steer the organization across all aspects of security. Mark has been a pioneer in providing security in the digital age, having worked with companies like Intuit, VeriSign, RSA, Netscape, Certicom and more. We are proud to have him returning as part of our core leadership team and look forward to leveraging his considerable talent as our security chief.”


“Protecting our critical technology base against a growing and diverse array of adversaries becomes ever more important as society’s reliance on technology increases,” said Mark Chen. “The industry’s constant drive to minimize production and material costs through outsourcing has created a situation where complex supply chains with opaque, multi-tier relationships are the norm. This environment offers deep shadows in which spies and hackers can thrive and invites root-level exploits in both hardware and software.  A compromised technology base, in turn, threatens industries such as energy, financial services, health care, and government. As I return to SoftIron as CSO, I am resolved to help drive our approach to secure provenance and to lead the industry in a new direction where root-level security becomes a planned priority, not a reaction to events that have already threatened lives and fortunes.”


More information on SoftIron’s approach to security.