Crowdstrike Ukraine Trump – What We Know About CrowdStrike

CrowdStrike has found itself in the eye of a political storm, again.

In a reconstructed transcript released by the White House on Wednesday morning of a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked Zelensky for a “favor” and to “find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine,” then ended the sentence with mention of CrowdStrike, a cloud-based cybersecurity firm.

It is unclear what Trump wanted the Ukrainian president to do regarding the Silicon Valley company, but it has played a role in American politics in recent years. CrowdStrike was hired by the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to investigate how hackers, which it later identified as Russian groups, breached a DNC network and then released stolen emails from the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to Wikileaks, just months before the U.S. general election.

The July 25 call started with Trump congratulating Zelensky on his recent win in Ukraine’s presidential election, but it quickly turned to Trump asking for Zelensky’s help with an investigation into the former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He also asked Zelensky to look into CrowdStrike and the U.S. investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

According to the Washington Post, Trump has questioned the cybersecurity firm’s role in the DNC investigation by asking why the DNC hired CrowdStrike instead of going to the FBI first.

“With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI,” said CrowdStrike in a statement to Forbes. “As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the US Intelligence community.”

Since CrowdStrike’s role in uncovering the Russian hacks, business has been growing for Sunnyvale, California-based company, which sells subscription software that uses artificial intelligence technology to spot anomalies and determine the plan of defense. Its customers include Sony, Hyatt, and the city of San Diego.

When it went public in June, its stock soared 70% on its opening day, making its CEO, George Kurtz, a billionaire in the process. The stock peaked in August, as did Kurtz’s net worth, which reached $1.7 billion given his nearly 10% stake in the firm.

Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch, both ex-McAfee executives, founded the company in 2011. Alperovitch, a Russian expat, is CrowdStrike’s chief technology officer. CrowdStrike said it had been able to identify the Russian agents behind the DNC hack because it was already familiar with them: It had been tracking Cozy Bear, which sends phishing emails to targets, since 2014, and also had been following Fancy Bear, a second Russian-based group, which has been in operation since 2008.

“The mission we’re really focused on is fighting the bad guys and protecting our customers,” Kurtz told Forbes in July 2017. “Being able to identify a foreign adversary in those systems using our technology is a testament to what we built.”

The stock took a dip in September, though cybersecurity analyst Shebly Seyrafi from FBN Securities attributes that to an overall correction in SaaS (software as a service) and cybersecurity stocks. “We still feel very good about CrowdStrike, and we’re quite positive on its fundamentals,” he says. Kurtz is currently worth an estimated $1.1 billion.

Here is the part of the reconstructed transcript released by the White House that refers in passing to CrowdStrike:

I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

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