Chris Tarbell

Renowned Former FBI Cyber Security Special Agent; Founding Partner, NAXO; Co-Host of the “Hacker and the Fed” Podcast
Chris Tarbell
  • The nation’s preeminent voice on cyber security and hacking
  • Led the tracking and arrest of two of the most infamous figures in cyberspace by infiltrating the dark web
  • Shares adrenaline-pumping stories detailing the cyber threats modern businesses face

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Former FBI special agent Christopher Tarbell is one of the most successful cyber security law enforcement officials of all time. So successful, in fact, that books and movies are being made about his legendary career. Dubbed “the Eliot Ness of online crime” by Newsweek, he is the man responsible for infiltrating the hacker group Anonymous and taking down the notorious dark web drug trafficking site Silk Road, called “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet.” He led the tracking and arrest of two of the most infamous figures in cyberspace: Sabu, who was at one point the most influential hacker in the world, and Dread Pirate Roberts, who was later convicted for his involvement with Silk Road.

With 17 years in law enforcement–including time in the FBI’s preeminent cyber crime squad–and extremely rare insight into the minds of the hacker community, Tarbell is the nation’s preeminent voice on cyber security, and the man that gives even the most notorious cybercriminals nightmares. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, he shares adrenaline-pumping stories detailing growing cyber threats and challenges modern businesses face. His hair-raising anecdotes prove that just because you cannot see your adversary, or maybe even know his or her real name, it doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself.

Capturing Criminals in Cyberspace. Tarbell was the lead investigator on a number of cutting-edge cyber cases that spanned multiple countries and continents. He infiltrated Anonymous and turned Sabu (née Hector Monsegur) into an informant who helped implicate and capture other members of the hacker group and its offshoot LulzSec, which was responsible for an unprecedented reign of Internet terror in 2011 and 2012 and of which Sabu was also a member. Tarbell also took down Dread Pirate Roberts (né Ross William Ulbricht), the operator of Silk Road, which generated more than $1.2 billion in drug, firearm, and counterfeit documents and currency sales since launching in 2011. According to court documents, some users even hired hit men through the site. In connection with the case, Tarbell seized more than $150 million in Bitcoins, the largest such seizure in history. Technology author Nick Bilton wrote a New York Times best-selling book based on the Silk Road case, and a movie chronicling the rise and fall of Silk Road was released in 2021. Today, Tarbell and Monsegur are close friends and co-hosts of the podcast “Hacker and the Fed,” in which they break down the top news in cybersecurity each week, and share best practices for keeping safe in the cybersphere.  

FBI Career and Technical Expertise. Tarbell honed his investigative talents with two police departments, where he worked on computer-related crimes. The experience led to a nine-year career with the FBI, where he worked as a global computer forensic examiner. He is a certified FBI subject matter expert on cell phones, mobile computing devices, Windows, and Unix/Linux. Tarbell developed deep working relationships with international law enforcement and is regularly called upon to teach cyber investigative techniques to law enforcement officials. He also lectures to business and governmental groups. Following his illustrious FBI career, he founded NAXO, an investigative firm delivering real solutions to your most complex cybersecurity needs.


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FBI Agent who took down Anonymous & Silk Road

Cyber Security. One of the most successful cyber security law enforcement officials of all time, Chris Tarbell has extensive expertise in cyber security and computer forensics. In an environment where an open computer receives more than 42,000 hits trying to hack it within 13 minutes, how do you protect your assets? A charismatic and hilarious storyteller, Tarbell shares the adrenaline-pumping tale of how he infiltrated and took down two of the most notorious cyber criminals in Anonymous and the Silk Road as he outlines our nation’s growing cyber threats and the challenges businesses have in protecting themselves.

Believing that there are two types of companies out there—those who have been hacked and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked, Tarbell offers practical tips like “Don’t be the low-hanging fruit” and “Be aware of insider threats” and helps audiences understand which threats they should focus on when allocating their resources. With 17 years in law enforcement and extremely rare insight into the mindset of the hacker community (he spent nine months living and working with one of the most notorious and influential hackers in the world), his is the preeminent voice on cyber security in the nation, and his hair-raising stories prove that just because you cannot see your adversary—or even know his real name, it doesn’t mean you can’t protect yourself.

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