Eric O'Neill speaker

Eric O’Neill

Cybersecurity Keynote Speaker, National Security Strategist at VMWare Carbon Black, Bestselling Author, Former FBI Operative, and Inspiration for the Film Breach

Eric O’Neill: Biography highlights

Eric O’Neill is a cybersecurity keynote speaker, former FBI counterterrorism and counterintelligence operative, bestselling author of Gray Day, and the inspiration for the film Breach. Eric is also the founder of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security services firm, and a National Security Strategist for Carbon Black, the leader in next-generation endpoint security.

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Full biography of Eric O’Neill

About Eric O’Neill

Eric O’Neill helped capture the most notorious spy in United States history: Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI. The remarkable true events of his life are the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed dramatic thriller Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O’Neill, and his bestselling novel Gray Day. The film set inside the FBI- the gatekeeper of the nation’s most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets – is the story of the greatest security breach in US history.

Preceding Hanssen’s arrest, O’Neill worked with the spy within the information assurance division that protected all classified FBI intelligence. O’Neill gained Hanssen’s trust and used that relationship to slowly draw the traitor out of deep cover.

O’Neill began his career in the FBI as a graduate of the FBI’s Intelligence Program. He spent the first five years of his career as a special surveillance group field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. He transitioned from field operative to direct undercover work focusing on Hanssen. Although his prior training had focused on “ghosting” targets from the shadows, he engaged his target in conversation in order to elicit information needed to catch Hanssen in the act of espionage. The singular nature of the assignment, one with little backup or support, required O’Neill to draw from deep reserves of courage and confidence within himself to battle Hanssen’s mind games and aggressive probing and learn to “stop reacting to Hanssen and begin acting.”

Currently, Eric O’Neill is the National Security Strategist for VMWare-Carbon Black, the leader in next-generation endpoint protection, where he provides insight and advice on strategic cyber-security issues and will work to ensure VMWare-Carbon Black is an active participant in the conversation about the national strategy for cybersecurity. He is also a founding partner of The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consultancy, where he specializes in counterintelligence operations, investigations into economic espionage, cybersecurity penetrations, internal investigations, catching the trusted insider and security risk assessment consulting out of Washington, DC.

O’Neill’s story is one of patriotism, of decisive action in the face of fear, and of learning to maintain confidence in ability even if it looks like success is impossible. He has told his story in national media, in print, on radio, and on television including 20/20, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Mathews, Fox News Power Player of the Week with Chris Wallace, CNN, CSPAN’s Washington Journal, NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” World News Now, MTV, and Access Hollywood.

A talented motivational speaker who weaves real-life experiences into a presentation that is both entertaining and rewarding, Eric O’Neill provides practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries. In addition to his experience in the Hanssen case, he also addresses the issues of confidence and patriotism, the threat to United States security posed by terrorism, foreign intelligence services, the cyber threat to our national infrastructure and the national conscience in a monitored society.

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Eric O'Neill - Cybersecurity Speaker
Eric O'Neill - Cybersecurity Speaker
Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2019 - Keynote: Eric O'Neill
Acronis Global Cyber Summit 2019 - Keynote: Eric O'Neill

Eric was the perfect guest speaker for our event. With an audience of IT Security folks, he not only captivated the room with his thrilling espionage story, but also incorporated our latest cybersecurity report and other cybersecurity themes into his talk. Eric has a long of interesting topics he can speak on, and we hope that we can bring him back to speak again in the future.

Carrie Page
Manager, Events & Partner Relations

Eric was a fantastic speaker, and exactly what we wanted for our audience of tech executives. His combination of a great story plus the cybersecurity expertise made his keynote compelling while also providing practical advice. We had a line out the door for his post-keynote book signing. Eric was extremely accommodating in helping us to promote his keynote in advance and signing extra books for our board members post-event.

Lien-Anh Van Wagener
Sr. Director, Events & Education
Auburn University

Eric O'Neill is an engaging speaker, whose message of courage and determination resonates especially well with college students. Drawing on his own life experience as a spy hunter, O'Neill speaks with authenticity and candor about his work as an FBI Investigator. Speaking at Auburn University, for the Graduate School's New Horizon Lecture, O'Neill downplayed the Hollywood image of spies to emphasize the importance of hard work, perseverance, and the courage to act in ways that are true to your own beliefs. In the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, O'Neill message is especially relevant. I highly recommend him as a speaker for college audiences or for anyone interested in cyber security.

George Crandell
Associate Dean

Eric is simply brilliant. His energy, expertise and insight into the ever-changing cybersecurity industry is unparalleled. I had worked with Eric in the past for a live event, but was equally impressed with his ability to carry a virtual keynote presentation and deliver a high-quality, compelling experience for the remote audience. Eric goes out of this way to ensure his talk is aligned with your event goals, theme, and audience makeup. He asked the right questions in our pre-event brief, and customized his content to meet our needs. The feedback we received from our attendees was outstanding and we look forward to working with Eric again in the future.

Justin McCoubry
Director of Marketing for North America
Johnny Rockets

Eric was a wonderful addition to our Company-wide Conference and, for many of our attendees, his presentation was the highlight. He was engaging, animated, charming and able to extract important and relevant business lessons from his experience with the FBI. I appreciated his candor, the tailoring of his message to our theme and the time he took to spend with our team. I'd recommend him as a speaker at any corporate event.

John Fuller
President & CEO

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