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Cloudflare CEO Says ‘Zero-Trust Architecture' Is an Answer to U.S. Government Breach

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  • Cloudflare CEO Mattew Prince, responding to news of a massive breach of the U.S. government, told CNBC's Jim Cramer that the company takes a "zero-trust" approach to cybersecurity.
  • "What that means is, effectively, if a hacker gets into one part of your organization that it's contained," Prince said in a "Mad Money" appearance.
  • "It's almost like bulkheads in a ship that make sure that a leak in one place doesn't sink the entire ship," he said.

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince on Friday commented on the cyberattack on the federal government that was revealed earlier this week.

In an appearance on CNBC's "Mad Money," the chief executive of the cloud cybersecurity provider said it's one reason his company is shifting towards what he called a "zero-trust architecture" to isolate a breach.

"What that means is, effectively, if a hacker gets into one part of your organization that it's contained," Prince told Jim Cramer. "It's almost like bulkheads in a ship that make sure that a leak in one place doesn't sink the entire ship."

The hack, which was carried out by a nation-state suspected to be Russia, gave actors access to several U.S. government agencies, including the Treasury, Homeland Security and Commerce departments, as well as the National Nuclear Security Administration. Outside of the national government, state and local governments as well as private entities are believed to have been compromised or were at risk, cyber experts say.

Computer security company FireEye disclosed that the sophisticated attack, which implicated the firm, sought information on its government customers. The company's shares fell 13% after the incident was reported Dec. 8, but the stock has since risen to $19.23 from $13.49 after the decline.

The hack sounded the alarm to a large majority of Fortune 500 companies that there was a "secret door" that adversaries could use to access their networks since early 2020, Prince said.

Cloudflare's zero-trust system requires verification from any user attempting to access a network, which is used to prevent data hacks.

"There's going to be a lot of cleaning up," he added, "but I think that as we move forward the zero-trust architecture that Cloudflare is delivering to our customers helps ensure that even if one part of an organization has a breach that it doesn't sink the entire ship and that you can essentially make sure that even if the attacker got in through one door they can't get past that first room."

Prince said both the coronavirus pandemic and periodic occurrence of major breaches is pushing organizations to ditch their legacy security approaches for cloud-based cybersecurity strategies. He recognized the work that Cloudflare does with other security firms like Okta and Crowdstrike.

"Combing these best-of-breed solutions, these new cloud-based approaches, does give you a better level of security and allows any organization to have the same state-of-the-art [tools] that the Googles of the world have," he said.

Shares of Cloudflare advanced 2.4% in Friday's session to close at $83.81. The stock has rallied 391% year to date.

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