Data Breach Expert Selected to Receive ACFE’s Guardian Award


KrebsOnSecurity LogoBrian Krebs, the investigative reporter behind KrebsOnSecurity who exposed massive data breaches, cybercriminals and the service providers who catered to them, has been selected to receive the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) Guardian Award.

The award is given annually to a journalist “whose determination, perseverance, and commitment to the truth have contributed significantly to the fight against fraud.”

The organization will present the Guardian Award to Krebs at the 26th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 14-19 in Baltimore, Maryland, prior to his keynote address. With nearly 75,000 members, the ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.

Krebs discovered and first reported on data breaches at credit card processors Heartland (the largest single data breach to date), Global Payments and FIS for his website He was also the first reporter to break the Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, Michael’s, Jimmy Johns and Kmart breaches.

As a reporter for The Washington Post from 1995 to 2009, Krebs authored hundreds of articles for the paper as well as posts for the Security Fix blog. He achieved notoriety investigating cybercriminals’ illicit activities, uncovering massive data breaches and the theft of consumers’ personal and financial information. Krebs was the first journalist to report on the malware that would later become known as Stuxnet.

Sony Pictures is reportedly planning a motion picture based upon Krebs’ story after picking up the rights to the New York Times article “Reporting From the Web’s Underbelly,” which focused on his exploits. According to the article, Krebs has been threatened, maligned and offered bribes by the criminals he works to expose. He is also writing a book about his experiences, Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime.

As noted on his website, Krebs wasn’t trained in computer security and actually stumbled upon the field by accident. It was after he fell victim to Chinese hackers taking over his entire home network in 2001 that he found his true calling. “It’s an obsession that hasn’t let up,” he wrote.

ACFE President and CEO James D. Ratley, CFE, said that Krebs’s investigative reporting helped expose dangerous cybercriminals and those who would aid their efforts.

“Through Brian Krebs’ hard work and perseverance, numerous fraudsters have been brought to justice and their business operations taken permanently offline,” Ratley said. “His insightful articles and blog posts have also raised public awareness and helped to expose serious threats including the malware known as Stuxnet, massive credit card breaches involving millions of accounts, and global internet providers and hosting services that catered to cybercriminals.”

The Guardian Award bears the inscription “For Vigilance in Fraud Reporting.” It was first presented in 2012 to New York Times writer and bestselling author Diana Henriques, who wrote the true-life financial thriller The Wizard of Lies about Bernie Madoff and his scheme. Investigative reporters Allan Dodds Frank and Susan Schmidt were presented the award in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

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