Best known for his role in capturing the most notorious spy in United States history, Robert Hanssen, Eric O’Neill is a cybersecurity keynote speaker, former FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence operative, technology futurist, and practicing attorney. He is the bestselling author of Gray Day, and the inspiration for the film Breach, in which he was portrayed by actor Ryan Phillipe. O’Neill is the founder of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security services firm, and a national security strategist for VMware Carbon Black, the leader in next-generation endpoint security. In addition to cybersecurity, he also addresses the new SEC cybersecurity reporting requirements, the threat to U.S. security posed by terrorism, cyber threats to critical infrastructure, foreign intelligence, and the national conscience in a monitored society.
A talented motivational speaker who weaves real-life experiences worthy of Hollywood spy thrillers and bestseller lists into talks that are as entertaining as they are inspiring, Eric O’Neill provides practical cybersecurity insights into real work situations relevant to many industries. Key to his presentations are his captivating first-hand accounts of his role in capturing the most notorious spy Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who was responsible for the greatest security breach in U.S. history. The story was captured in O’Neill’s bestselling book, Gray Day, and the critically-acclaimed thriller Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O’Neill.
Eric O’Neill began his career in counterintelligence and counterterrorism as a graduate of the FBI’s Intelligence Program. He spent the first five years of his FBI career as a special surveillance group field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. He transitioned from field operative to direct undercover work focusing on Hanssen. Although his prior training had focused on “ghosting” targets from the shadows, he engaged Hanssen in conversation to elicit the information needed to catch him in the act of espionage. The singular nature of the assignment, one with little backup or support, required O’Neill to draw from deep reserves of courage and inner confidence to deflect Hanssen’s mind games and learn to “stop reacting to Hanssen and begin acting.”
Currently, Eric O’Neill is the National Security Strategist for VMWare-Carbon Black, the leader in next-generation endpoint protection, where he provides insight and advice on strategic cyber-security issues and ensures that they are an active participant in the conversation about the national strategy for cybersecurity. He is also a founding partner of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consultancy specializing in counterintelligence operations, investigations into economic espionage, cybersecurity penetrations, internal investigations, catching the trusted insider, and security risk. As an attorney, O’Neill also serves as the general counsel and chief ethics officer for Global Communities, a charitable humanitarian relief organization serving 20 million people each year.
In addition to his book and the movie it inspired, O’Neill has told his story on CNN, ABC, Fox, MTV, and NPR, including programs such as Nightline, Hardball with Chris Mathews, Fox News Power Player of the Week with Chris Wallace, CSPAN’s Washington Journal, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, World News Now, and Access Hollywood.
His speaking engagements include Fortune 100 companies and strategic clients such as AT&T, Salesforce, TIAA, IBM, Dell, Raymond James & Associates, Roche Diagnostics, and Allstate.