Window Snyder, the head of security at Mozilla, is leaving the company to help found a start-up venture unrelated to security. Snyder has been at Mozilla for more than two years and has been the driving force behind the company’s effort to make security a top priority in its popular Firefox browser.
Snyder’s departure is a blow to Mozilla, a small organization that counts on participation from the open-source community for much of its work. Snyder has helped raise the company’s profile in the security community and made transparency about security issues a key initiative. The company currently is working on a security metrics project with security analyst Rich Mogull of Securosis that is designed to measure the relative security of Firefox in a number of different ways.
It’s unclear who will be replacing Snyder, whose official title never evolved beyond the “chief security something-or-other” she came up with when she was hired. Snyder said she is not yet ready to talk about her new venture, but said it is something she is passionate about. When she joined Mozilla in 2006, Snyder was already one of the more visible personalities in the security community, having spent several years at Microsoft and at @stake before that. During her time at Microsoft, she was one of the key players in the development of Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, a massive security upgrade that was one of the first results of the vendor’s Trustworthy Computing program. After leaving Microsoft, Snyder did a short stint at Matasano Security, a consultancy.
Mogull, who has been working on the metrics program with Mozilla for several months, said he’d been impressed with the way Snyder had worked to make security a priority within the Mozilla community. “I think she’s done a great job. I mean, think about the challenge she faced going into that,” he said. “It’s an open-source project and she’s trying to put in a structured security program in an open-source environment. It’s not the same as a commercial software company where you have very rigid processes. It’s a very engaged community and that’s one of the reasons I was so excited to work with her. She broke new ground in combining the technology for developing secure software with a project like this.”