Outside the Box: Michael Figueroa takes optimism to his cybersecurity post

January 12, 2017

Kelly J. O'Brien

Michael Figueroa
Title: Executive director, Advanced Cyber Security Center
Age: 41
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997; master’s degree, George Washington University, 2006
Residence: Needham

The world is racing toward more and more digital interconnection — from Amazon Echos in every room to autonomous vehicles that share information — but the internet has many of the same fundamental vulnerabilities it had 30 years ago, leading to high-profile cyberattacks like those on Yahoo and the Democratic party.

That’s the complicated world Michael Figueroa will help Massachusetts businesses navigate as head of the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC), a nonprofit consortium of companies, universities and government agencies that share knowledge and resources in order to fight cyber threats.

Figueroa took over as executive director of ACSC in November, continuing a career that included cyber work at Draper Labs and BAE Systems. He aims to help companies like Veracode, State Street Corp. and Facebook collaborate on tough challenges in cybersecurity and formulate industry positions on crucial public policy questions.

Figueroa spoke with BBJ tech reporter Kelly O’Brien about what it will take to stay ahead of the hackers.

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