Eric O'Neill

  • Principal Agent in Notorious U.S. Spy Capture
  • Attorney, Investigator, Consultant with The Georgetown Group
  • National Security Strategist, Carbon Black
  • Inspiration for the film, Breach

Eric began his career in the FBI as a “Ghost” – an undercover field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. During the Hanssen investigation, Eric worked directly undercover with the spy within the FBI’s Information Assurance Division – created to protect all classified FBI intelligence.

Currently, Eric runs The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consultancy out of Washington, DC.  Eric is also the National Security Strategist for Carbon Black, the leader in next generation endpoint protection.   

A talented motivational speaker who weaves real life experiences into a presentation that is both entertaining and rewarding, Eric O’Neill provides practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries.  

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Eric O'Neill
Eric delivered an absolutely mesmerizing keynote for our cybersecurity event at the Spy Museum. He tailored his talk specifically to the topic of the event, weaving in very relevant and thought provoking commentary of particular interest to our audience. Eric stayed at the event until literally only he and I remained – making himself available and approachable to all who wanted to meet. I couldn’t have asked for a better keynote and sincerely hope we’ll cross paths again soon.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Eric O'Neill
  • Association of College & University Auditors
  • Audit Director, Henrico County Virginia
  • ISACA, Virginia
  • Assura, Inc
  • CSO Magazine
  • Auburn University
  • CloudLock
  • Johnny Rockets
  • WatchDox
Eric O'Neill at the Johnny Rockets Corporate-Wide Conference 2013 - Get Sharable Link
Eric O'Neill at the Johnny Rockets Corporate-Wide Conference 2013
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Eric O'Neill at CEIC 2011
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Explore Eric O'Neill's Talks
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An Insider’s Look into the Robert Hanssen Investigation: How the FBI Caught the Worst Spy in American History

Motivational/security/cyber security: Learn intricate details of the investigation that caught the most damaging spy in United States History. Robert Hanssen spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for over 22 years.  The FBI had a very narrow window of just a few months to catch him.  This is the sto ...

Motivational/security/cyber security: Learn intricate details of the investigation that caught the most damaging spy in United States History. Robert Hanssen spied for the Soviet Union and Russia for over 22 years.  The FBI had a very narrow window of just a few months to catch him.  This is the story of how we succeeded in one of the most impressive undercover operations ever orchestrated by the FBI.

Cyber Security in the Age of Espionage.

CyberSecurity/ protecting yourself and your company online: Recent years have seen a massive increase in cyber theft of private and confidential information from government agencies, business and private individuals. The modern spy is responsible for these attacks. Today’s spies are sophisticated, b ...

CyberSecurity/ protecting yourself and your company online:

Recent years have seen a massive increase in cyber theft of private and confidential information from government agencies, business and private individuals. The modern spy is responsible for these attacks. Today’s spies are sophisticated, brilliant, devious and technologically advanced, and they are targeting your data. Robert Hanssen was the first of these new cyber spies, charged with selling American secrets to Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds. His ability to exploit computer systems allowed him to protect his identity during a 22 year spy career. Join Eric as he uses real-life spy stories to show how careful diligence, counter espionage techniques and restraint in social media can help identify the numerous spies, hackers, hacktivists and trusted insiders that threaten every stroke of the keyboard.

A Spy Story: Setting Goals & Achieving Them through Courage, Confidence & Determination

Motivational/Leadership: My story of acting to take control of any situation and excel, not just succeed, takes place in the center of the FBI’s most important espionage investigation.  Imagine being locked in a room for eight hours a day with the most ruthless and damaging spy in United States hist ...

Motivational/Leadership: My story of acting to take control of any situation and excel, not just succeed, takes place in the center of the FBI’s most important espionage investigation.  Imagine being locked in a room for eight hours a day with the most ruthless and damaging spy in United States history.  Imagine feeling unqualified and outgunned, knowing that the country depends on you to succeed despite the fact that no one has provided the means to do so.  My story is not just an edge of your seat spy thriller.  It is a story about discovering tools for success inside oneself by setting small goals that lead to big accomplishments until finally, through courage, confidence and determination, victory is achieved.

The Human Element: The Weakest Link In Every Security System Is Not A Computer.

Trusted Insider: Security professionals must not only look outward when securing a system, they must become spy hunters, looking for internal exploits and penetrations that may not be easy to detect. Includes an analysis of Robert Hanssen, Edward Snowden and other recent internal penetrations. ...

Trusted Insider: Security professionals must not only look outward when securing a system, they must become spy hunters, looking for internal exploits and penetrations that may not be easy to detect. Includes an analysis of Robert Hanssen, Edward Snowden and other recent internal penetrations.

Corporate Security: The Top Things You Should Be Doing To Secure Your Company

Blended Topic: This personal list was compiled over decades of work as an undercover operative in the FBI and security consultant.  The keynote is a hot topic format of issues that are most critical to protecting information, set in a narrative of true stories that inform with actionable learning wh ...

Blended Topic: This personal list was compiled over decades of work as an undercover operative in the FBI and security consultant.  The keynote is a hot topic format of issues that are most critical to protecting information, set in a narrative of true stories that inform with actionable learning while they entertain.  Issues looked at include: The Need for Diligence; Critical areas in Physical Security; Phishing and Email hacks; Social Media Do's and Don’ts; How Spies Recruit; Economic Espionage; and Preventing The Insider Threat.    

How The World Will End: Cyber Security In A Shrinking World

Cyber Security: The global phenomenon of information sharing has created extraordinary innovation in communication, but has also become a gold mine for cyber criminals.  This topic explores the current cyber threats facing industry, government and private individuals, from threats to national infras ...

Cyber Security: The global phenomenon of information sharing has created extraordinary innovation in communication, but has also become a gold mine for cyber criminals.  This topic explores the current cyber threats facing industry, government and private individuals, from threats to national infrastructure, to corporate espionage and cyber terrorism, to identity theft and online fraud.

Surviving the Age of Social Media: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself From Social Media Spies And Fraudsters

CyberSecurity/Social Media techniques: Hacking is the necessary evolution of espionage.  As people have moved their lives, relationships and personal data online, spies have learned to exploit this data in order to steal identities, intellectual property and more.  Learn the most critical ways that ...

CyberSecurity/Social Media techniques:

Hacking is the necessary evolution of espionage.  As people have moved their lives, relationships and personal data online, spies have learned to exploit this data in order to steal identities, intellectual property and more.  Learn the most critical ways that spies are stealing your data by leveraging your social media accounts and how you can take steps to stop them.

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Biography

In 2001, Eric O'Neill helped capture the most notorious spy in United States history: Robert Hanssen, a 25-year veteran of the FBI. The remarkable true events of his life are the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed dramatic thriller Breach, starring Ryan Philippe as O'Neill. The film set inside the FBI - the gatekeeper of the nation's most sensitive and potentially volatile secrets - is the story of the greatest security breach in US history.

Preceding Hanssen's arrest, O'Neill worked with the spy within the information assurance division that protected all classified FBI intelligence. O'Neill gained Hanssen's trust and used that relationship to slowly draw the traitor out of deep cover. 

O'Neill began his career in the FBI as a graduate of the FBI's Intelligence Program. He spent the first five years of his career as a special surveillance group field operative tasked to surveil and monitor foreign, national, and domestic terrorists and spies. He transitioned from field operative to direct undercover work focusing on Hanssen. Although his prior training had focused on “ghosting” targets from the shadows, he engaged his target in conversation in order to elicit information needed to catch Hanssen

in the act of espionage. The singular nature of the assignment, one with little backup or support, required O'Neill to draw from deep reserves of courage and confidence within himself to battle Hanssen's mind games and aggressive probing and learn to "stop reacting to Hanssen and begin acting."

Currently, Eric O’Neill runs The Georgetown Group, a premier investigative and security consultancy, where he specializes in counterintelligence operations, investigations into economic espionage, cyber security penetrations, internal investigations, catching the trusted insider and security risk assessment consulting out of Washington, DC.  Eric is also the National Security Strategist for Carbon Black, the leader in next generation endpoint protection, where he provides insight and advice on strategic cybersecurity issues and will work to ensure Carbon Black is an active participant in the conversation about the national strategy for cyber security.   

O'Neill's story is one of patriotism, of decisive action in the face of fear, and of learning to maintain confidence in ability even if it looks like success is impossible. He has told his story in national media, in print, on radio, and on television including 20/20, Nightline, Hardball with Chris Mathews, Fox News Power Player of the Week with Chris Wallace, CNN, CSPAN's Washington Journal, NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross," World News Now, MTV, and Access Hollywood.

A talented motivational speaker who weaves real life experiences into a presentation that is both entertaining and rewarding, Eric O’Neill provides practical insights into real work situations relevant to many industries.  In addition to his experience in the Hanssen case, he also addresses the issues of confidence and patriotism, the threat to United States security posed by terrorism, foreign intelligence services, the cyber threat to our national infrastructure and the national conscience in a monitored society.