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About Joe

Throughout my career, I have worked at the intersection of government, technology, and security, even before the Internet went mainstream. I have dedicated my career to making the online world a safer place for everyone, where businesses and individuals can thrive without risk.


US Department of Justice | 1993 - 2002

I essentially spent the first eight years of my career as an attorney in the US Department of Justice. (I made a short stop in private practice after my first year, but quickly rejoined the DOJ.) I didn’t start out in a tech-focused role, but even back in 1995 I was able to jump through enough hoops to convince the federal government to let me run a direct Internet cable to a dedicated computer at my desk (that didn’t connect to any of the DOJ computers). In 1997, I was given special technical training and dedicated computer equipment by the DOJ and invited to join the Computer and Telecommunications Crime Coordinator program. I eventually became 100% focused on technology-related crimes. I received national recognition from the DOJ for outstanding service as a federal prosecutor, and worked on many first-of-their-kind cybercrime cases, including supporting the digital aspects of the 9/11 investigation.


Even though I left government service in 2002, I have not stopped actively supporting government efforts to promote safety online for everyone. I’ve testified before the US Congress twice as an expert on internet safety and security, been a commissioner on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a board member on the National Cyber Security Alliance, a many-time opening plenary speaker at the Dallas Crimes Against Children Conference, a participant in a White House anti-online-bullying effort, an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, and accepted an appointment from President Obama to his Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. 

eBay& PayPal | 2002 - 2008

In 2002, I was recruited to eBay at a time when the company was grappling with the challenges that came with being the first major global ecommerce platform. I started as their senior director for Trust and Safety, managing their fraud investigations team and overseeing their acceptable use policies. I also managed a legal team dedicated to addressing the regulatory issues that the sale of goods on the Internet caused and had not been considered when most commercial regulations had been written. 


After four years in a role where I spent most of my time focused on dealing with ecommerce fraud and cybercrime, I thought I should get back to being a lawyer and took a role at PayPal managing their North America Legal Team. I was fortunate enough to also serve as the acting general counsel of PayPal for a period of time. But even when I was supposedly in a purely legal role, I still spent a considerable amount of my time supporting the security teams at eBay and PayPal. In fact it was during this time that I helped the PayPal infosec team launch one of the first ever responsible disclosure policies.

Facebook (now Meta) | 2008 - 2015

After a couple of years working at PayPal in a senior legal position, I realized that banking law was not my calling. When I started to look around, I was recruited to take on general counsel roles at a number of different startup companies, but decided I preferred to roll up my sleeves on the front lines, and instead took a junior role at Facebook. The company was smaller than MySpace when I joined, but the first-of-their-kind challenges seemed more interesting than anything I had seen before. 

Not long after I started, I was asked to take on the role of Chief Security Officer. This was the point when I had to decide whether to walk away from my legal career and fully focus on an operational role. It took a lot to walk away from practicing law, especially since I still had the student loans to show for it, but I decided to accept the role and jumped into it fully. I built the security team from a handful to hundreds, taking on every type of safety and security issue you could imagine. My team handled complicated and large-scale security issues such as an attempt to hack the accounts of Tunisian Facebook users in the 2011 “Arab Spring” during the Tunisian Revolution. A significant percentage of my work focused on child safety. This was during a period when children were increasingly joining social networks and parents were struggling to keep up with the evolving digital landscape. I testified on this subject before Congress in 2010 and was invited to the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in 2011.

Uber | 2015 - 2017

In the spring of 2015, I was recruited to join Uber as its first Chief Security Officer. I focused on protecting riders and drivers from physical world dangers, as technology revolutionized visibility into the risks of shared transportation, but also oversaw physical security, information security, and fraud prevention for the company. Again, I built a team from a handful of engineers to hundreds. When our CEO was forced to step down in the spring of 2017, I along with several others co-ran the company for several months until a new CEO could be retained. My experiences at Uber are well documented publicly, for better and for worse, including with a chapter dedicated to my life in the bestselling book Super Pumped. You can read more about that here.

Cloudflare | 2018 - 2022

In May 2018, I joined Cloudflare as the company’s first Chief Security Officer. At Cloudflare I was fortunate enough to get to build another security team from a handful of engineers into a large high-quality security organization, helping take the company from a startup to a significant public company.

Ukraine Friends

While I was working at Cloudflare, the US government asked us to help the government in Ukraine prepare against cyber attacks that started in 2022. I found that work rewarding, so after I left Cloudflare at the tail end of 2022, I sought out a volunteer role helping the people of Ukraine. I didn’t intend to become a volunteer CEO at a nonprofit but when I met the founders of Ukraine Friends, I felt compelled to jump in and help them with their humanitarian mission. We help provide medical equipment to first responders and those in need, and our current main focus is to ensure that children stuck in a war zone get the tools they need to maintain their focus on education and keep their mental health strong. I feel scared every time I travel into Ukraine, but every time I leave there I come home inspired by the people there – everyone I meet is dedicated to helping others in their community no matter how difficult their own situation might be.

Joe Sullivan Security LLC

After the dust settled on the Uber case in May of 2023, I decided to get back to doing what I love, and started offering my services to advise security startups on product and market opportunities, mentor executives, and help companies build high performing security teams.

Awards & Recognitions