Brendan Francis O'Connor


Hi. I'm Brendan Francis O'Connor.

I'm a technologist, and I work to build information security programs focused on everyday excellence. I'm an attorney. My work blends both areas.

If you'd like to talk to me, my email: My GPG key is public, though very rarely used at this point.

This is my short resume. If you'd like to have a copy, just hit print or click here for a PDF; if you'd like a full-length CV, click here.

Staff Security Engineer
2022 -
As a Staff Security Engineer, I am responsible for engaging in high-leverage work to improve security across Cedar to protect patients, medical providers, and our employees; I also help educate our engineers on secure programming practices, perform code reviews, and guide technical implementations of key client-required security features. My recent large-scale work has included rebuilding the corporate IAM and secrets management systems, compiling the first complete set of technical client contract requirements, and creating a trusted baseline and deployment tracker for our container build systems.
Senior Security Advisor
2014 - 2016, 2019 - 2022
Leviathan Security Group
I worked as a Senior Security Advisor in Leviathan's Risk and Advisory Services group, where I built security programs, advised teams on how best to meet compliance goals, and conducted large-scale architecture and security ecosystem assessments on codebases with more than ten years' engineering effort, more than 20 million end users, or both. I built SOC 2 Type II-compliant security programs and defended them during audits, and advised management at dozens of companies on HIPAA, FERPA, HITRUST, CMS ARS, ISO 27001/2/18, and PCI compliance. I also co-wrote four whitepapers on forced data localization as it affects security, and more recently, one on Kubernetes and container security.
Enterprise Security Platform Lead
2018 - 2019
As the head of the information security program at RealSelf, I directed the company's overall security, risk and compliance efforts. This involved close coordination with the RealSelf executive and engineering teams to align security priorities with our business goals and overall risk posture; I reported to the CTO and General Counsel. My work included developing and delivering security training, working with developers and SREs to design and implement security at all levels of our systems, building our ISO 27000-aligned information security management program, communicating with customers regarding security issues, leading security incident response efforts, working with our legal and privacy teams on vendor management, and managing our bug bounty program. I also worked on HIPAA, PCI, GDPR, and other regulatory issues to ensure that we were able to meet evolving obligations, and ultimately, that the trust our users placed in us was well-earned.
Chief Technical Officer / DSS
2010 -
Malice Afterthought, Inc.
Malice Afterthought provides information security consulting services. Some highlights of past work: I led an international nonprofit's security efforts, including both building a multi-regulated compliance program (FERPA, HIPAA, and FedRAMP) and implementing technical defensive tools; I taught at a Department of Defense information and network warfare (CNO) school; and I won and completed two DARPA Cyber Fast Track (CFT) contracts. Languages and tech stacks have included Ruby, Python, Perl, D3JS, UnityScript, Hadoop, Spark, and AWS, among many others.
Security by Consent; or, Peel's Principles of Security Operations
October 18, 2016
SecTor - Toronto, ON, Canada
How to create and maintain a security operation within a larger organization that focuses on cooperation and consent, rather than coercion, based upon the 'policing by consent' model created in 1820s England.
Are you tired of knowing everything, having people ignore 'the security person' because 'reasons,' and then having 'I told you so' as your only comfort? Sick of the hostile relationship between security and development, security and operations, security and HR, and/or security and everyone not wearing a black t-shirt? There’s a better way. Faced with the challenge of building a security function into a society that wasn’t sure it wanted one (but which nonetheless needed it), Charles Rowan and Richard Mayne set out what became known as the Peelian Principles of Policing, or Policing by Consent. They provide an effective model for running a security group that stands with its organization, rather than against it. We are, after all, 'only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the intent of the community welfare.' Join us to become a security Bobby—where a commitment to service is non-optional, but the silly hat’s only needed if you like it.
Stalking a City for Fun and Frivolity
August 3, 2013
DEF CON - Las Vegas, NV
Distributed sensor network data acquisition, filtering, and visualization, with several security applications. This presentation addressed the architecture and collection aspects of the CreepyDOL system, as well as the implications for global surveillance states and engineering as a profession.
Tired of the government being the only entity around that can keep tabs on a whole city at once? Frustrated by dictators du jour knowing more about you than you know about them? Fed up with agents provocateur slipping into your protests, rallies, or golf outings? Suffer no more, because CreepyDOL is here to help! With open-source software, off-the-shelf sensors, several layers of encryption, and a deployment methodology of 'pull pin, point toward privacy insurance claimant,' it allows anyone to track everyone in a neighborhood, suburb, or city from the comfort of their sofa. For just four easy hardware purchases of $131.95, you, too can move up from small-time weirding out to the big leagues of total information awareness: deploy CreepyDOL today!
CreepyDOL: Cheap, Distributed Stalking
August 1, 2013
Black Hat USA - Las Vegas, NV
Distributed sensor network data acquisition, filtering, and visualization, with several security applications. This presentation addressed the architecture and collection aspects of the CreepyDOL system.
Are you a person with a few hundred dollars and an insatiable curiosity about your neighbors who is fed up with the hard work of tracking your target's every move in person? Good news! You, too, can learn the intimate secrets and continuous physical location of an entire city from the comfort of your desk! CreepyDOL is a distributed sensing and data mining system combining very-low-cost sensors, open-source software, and a focus on user experience to provide personnel identification, tracking, and analysis without sending any data to the targets. In other words, it takes you from hand-crafted, artisan skeeviness to big-box commodity creepiness, and enables government-level total awareness for about $500 of off-the-shelf hardware.
Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Science
September 2005 - May 2009
The Johns Hopkins University
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
September 2004 - May 2008
The Johns Hopkins University
State Bar of Montana, Washington State Bar Association
International Association of Privacy Professionals
Information Systems Audit and Control Association
Cloud Security Alliance
International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC(2))