At the Cybersecurity Seminar: The Director of world’s biggest cyber company talked about incident responder careers

October 25, 2023 | Emilia Chiscop-Head, PhD, Duke FinTech and Cyber Manager

Wood is also the leader of the Palo Alto Networks cyber incident response practice, Unit 42

John Wood, talking to the Duke Cyber students

John Wood, Director of Palo Alto Networks, and leader of the cyber incident response practice, Unit 42 , has spoken to the Duke ME in Cybersecurity students last week about his career and particularly about what building a profession in incident response entails. He emphasized the interdisciplinary nature and the complexity of this job. “As an incident responder, you need to wear many hats. You need to understand the entire environment, the technology, the interactions within the operating system. You must have knowledge in many technology aspects - cloud, windows DFSR, partnerships firewalls, network configuration,” he said.

John Wood also talked about how different types of cyber threats require different approaches and pose different challenges to responders. Students could also learn about his inspiring career story, from a high school student passionate about chemistry in the 80s to the young police officer doing undercover work in narcotics in a local high school, from where he joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) where he served for almost 24 years as a special agent. Most of John Wood’s career was related to incident response, which involved responding to incidents, investigating them, and providing reports about the response operations to governments and other impacted entities,” said Art Ehuan, Professor in the Duke Cybersecurity master’s program and former colleague with Wood at Palo Alto Networks. From FBI, Wood became managing director for Cylance Inc.’s Worldwide Incident Response practice.

As the Palo Alto Networks Director, he provides leadership to one of the biggest cyber companies in the world and shares his expertise worldwide.