Meet Our Defenders


Chris Williams_Headshot.jpgDefending against sophisticated cyber threats takes more than technology. It takes people. People with skills and innate qualities to outpace today’s evolving threat landscape. Qualities we call “defender DNA.”

Chris Williams | Chief Cybersecurity Architect

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What drives you to be a Defender?

Anybody can play cyber offense and have a good day or a lucky break. On defense, you have to do a good job every day, all the time. The challenge is to do this, day in and day out, when people, processes, and technologies are all imperfect and prone to failure. I love to study failures and design defenses that are fail-safe, all the time. And that love of design drove me to develop a patented secure e-commerce technology.

What is your strongest defender DNA quality?

When I worked for the CISO of Leidos’ predecessor, SAIC, we battled cyberattackers from Russia, Syria, and North Korea. We saw cyberattackers make brilliant breakthroughs against our defenses, but we also saw them make rookie mistakes, too. I understand that for all the breakthroughs and brilliance, these cyberattackers are people, just like us, who are trying to do right by their jobs and organizations. We need to focus on the people, not just the technologies.

How do you prove you have defender DNA?

I spend much of my time translating extremely technical subjects – like how to craft intrusion detection signatures for a new attack pattern – into strategic objectives and management priorities. In a large organization, it is not so much about technical people knowing what to do as it is about establishing a management framework with resources so the technical people can actually do what they know should be done. My defender DNA is to map from the trees to the forest, so the right strategy is defined, tailored, and then resourced for execution.

How does your defender DNA benefit Leidos clients?

When we wrote our book, “Enterprise Cybersecurity: How to Build a Successful Cyberdefense Program Against Advanced Threats,” we sought to capture what we had learned about running a large-scale cyber defense against nation-state attackers. I bring those experiences, that knowledge, and the wisdom that comes from it to our clients every day.