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VMWare loses top security researcher Sotirov and exec Mulchandani

VMWare has lost two of its key security people in the last couple of weeks: Nand Mulchandani and Alexander Sotirov. Mulchandani, the company’s top security executive, left VMWare recently to take the CEO job at OpenDNS, a startup focused on providing cloud-based DNS operations and security services. Mulchandani was the co-founder and former CEO of Determina, a security startup that VMWare acquired in 2007. He served as the senior  director of product management and marketing at VMWare and was the company’s public face on security issues. Before the Determina acquisition, VMWare had been conspicuously quiet about security in general and had been taking some heat from researchers and customers on that front. After Mulchandani came on board, he made a point of talking up the security initiatives the company was working on, including its VMSafe program.

The company also lost one of its key product security experts in Sotirov, who is well known for his work with Mark Dowd on bypassing memory protection mechanisms in Windows Vista through browser exploits. Sotirov’s last day at VMWare is Dec. 2. Like Mulchandani, Sotirov landed at VMWare through the Determina deal, though he’s best known in the security community for his personal research on the browser exploits and other projects. Sotirov said he hasn’t decided on his next destination yet.

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