Alex Stamos


Alex Stamos was a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. Stamos is a cybersecurity expert, business leader, and entrepreneur working to improve the security and safety of the Internet through his teaching and research at Stanford University. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute, and a William J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Prior to joining Stanford, Stamos served as the chief security officer of Facebook. In this role, he was charged with understanding and mitigating information security risks to the company and safety risks to the 2.5 billion people on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. He led the company’s investigation into manipulation of the 2016 US election and helped pioneer several successful protections against these new classes of abuse.

Before joining Facebook, he was the chief information security officer at Yahoo, rebuilding a storied security team while dealing with multiple assaults by nation-state actors. While at Yahoo, he led the response to the 2013 Edward Snowden disclosures and represented the company in a hearing of the US Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

In 2004, he cofounded iSEC Partners, an elite security consultancy. As a trusted partner to the world’s largest technology firms, he coordinated the response to the “Aurora” attacks by China's People’s Liberation Army at multiple Silicon Valley firms and led groundbreaking work securing the world’s largest desktop and mobile platforms. During this time, he also served as an expert witness in several notable civil and criminal cases, such as the Google Street View case, and performed pro bono work for the defendants in the Sony vs. George Hotz case and United States vs. Aaron Swartz.

A noted speaker and writer, he has appeared at the Munich Security Conference, NATO CyCon, Web Summit, DEF CON, CanSecWest, and Black Hat and has highlighted the work of diverse technologists as an organizer of the Trustworthy Technology Conference and OURSA.

Stamos has been involved with securing the US election system as a contributor to Harvard’s Defending Digital Democracy Project. He is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Security Task Force, the Bay Area CSO Council, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the advisory board to NATO’s Collective Cybersecurity Center of Excellence in Tallinn, Estonia.

Stamos earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California-Berkeley. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and three children.

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

EssaysAnalysis and Commentary

Chinese Technology Platforms Operating In The United States

by Gary P. Corn, Jennifer Daskal, Jack Goldsmith, John C. "Chris" Inglis, Paul Rosenzweig, Samm Sacks, Bruce Schneier, Alex Stamos, Vincent Stewartvia Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Trump administration took various steps to effectively ban TikTok, WeChat, and other Chinese-owned apps from operating in the United States, at least in their current forms. The primary justification for doing so was national security. Yet the presence of these apps and related internet platforms presents a range of risks not traditionally associated with national security, including data privacy, freedom of speech, and economic competitiveness, and potential responses raise multiple considerations. This report offers a framework for both assessing and responding to the challenges of Chinese-owned platforms operating in the United States.

In the News

Greek-American Alex Stamos To Appear On Niall Ferguson’s Networld On PBS

featuring Niall Ferguson, Alex Stamosvia The National Herald
Friday, February 21, 2020

The three-part documentary series, Niall Ferguson’s Networld, premieres March 17 on PBS, and provides unique insights from history into the viral spread of ideas and how social media’s technology is a battlefield of the future. Greek-American computer scientist Alex Stamos, former head of security at Facebook and now an adjunct professor at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation is among those sharing their insights on the program.

In the News

World Affairs Spotlights U.S. Election Interference

featuring Alex Stamosvia Los Altos Town Crier (CA)
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A leading cyber-security expert believes the United States remains vulnerable to online attacks that threaten to undermine the integrity of its elections process.


Here’s How Russia Will Attack The 2020 Election. We’re Still Not Ready.

by Renee DiResta, Michael McFaul, Alex Stamosvia The Washington Post
Friday, November 15, 2019

In 1983, an anonymous letter from an author claiming to be an American scientist appeared in an Indian newspaper, asserting that the HIV virus raging across the world was a bioweapon released by the United States. Over the next several years, similar claims appeared in leftist and alternative newspapers around the world and ended up becoming widely believed among those predisposed to distrust the Reagan administration. As late as 2005, a study showed that 27 percent of African Americans still believed that HIV was created in a government lab.


Silicon Valley Q&A: Ex-Facebook Exec Alex Stamos Warns Of 2020 Election Security Threats

interview with Alex Stamosvia CBS San Francisco
Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Alex Stamos talks about the 2020 election security threats.


Alex Stamos Discusses Stanford Internet Observatory's New Research

interview with Alex Stamosvia Steptoe
Friday, October 11, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Alex Stamos discusses Stanford Internet Observatory's new research, "Taiwan: Presidential Election 2020 Scene Setter."

Michael McFaul And Alex Stamos: Should We Be Worried About Election Interference In 2020? Probably, Says Facebook’s Former Chief Security Officer

interview with Michael McFaul, Alex Stamosvia World Class
Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows Michael McFaul and Alex Stamos discuss the security of the 2020 elections. Stamos says he is “extremely worried” that the upcoming US presidential election will see some kind of interference from foreign adversaries.

Analysis and Commentary

An Op-Ed From The Future On Election Security

by Alex Stamosvia Lawfare
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Jan. 1, 2021. New Year’s Day is traditionally spent recovering from the previous night’s revelry. This year, the United States awakens to the greatest New Year’s hangover in the country’s almost 245-year history: a crisis of constitutional legitimacy as all three branches of government continue to battle over who will take the presidential oath of office later this month.

In the News

Facebook's Ex-Security Chief Details His 'Observatory' For Internet Abuse

featuring Alex Stamosvia Wired
Thursday, July 25, 2019
When Alex Stamos describes the challenge of studying the worst problems of mass-scale bad behavior on the internet, he compares it to astronomy.

Alex Stamos: Former Facebook Chief Security Officer On Election Security And Digital Threats

interview with Alex Stamosvia NPR
Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Alex Stamos talks about efforts to shore up election security.