Offensive Security appoints Ning Wang as CEO. Wang joins the company with proven experience in growing businesses in the security and online training markets as COO and CFO of HackerOne and Lynda.com (formerly Spectrum Equity-backed and acquired by LinkedIn), respectively. Her appointment follows the growth investment in the company, led by Spectrum in September 2018.
“In an age when software is in everything we touch and use, it’s now a matter of when and not if it will be breached because adversaries are organized and talented,” said Wang.
“For companies to best protect and defend themselves, they need to work with well-trained security professionals capable of doing their jobs with the same offensive, ‘try-harder’ mindset. The opportunity to join Offensive Security is unique not only because of the impact we can make on closing the talent gap, but also because of its tremendous brand in the community, the shared values of the founders and the commitment of its team to our students’ success.”
Offensive Security was founded in 2007 and created the online penetration testing certification programs that are respected by both employers and employees alike. Offensive Security also offers virtual labs, giving users safe virtual network environments designed to be attacked by course takers to complement training courses and sharpen penetration testing skills. The number of enrolled students provisioned in the virtual labs has more than doubled in the past two years.
Additionally, Offensive Security funds and maintains community projects, including the open source Kali Linux distribution, the operating system used by penetration testers and downloaded more than 3 million times per month. Kali Linux is used in all Offensive Security courses and virtual lab environments.
“Ning brings a perfect blend of experience in building community-driven brands and a sound vision for growing Offensive Security,” said Mati Aharoni, the founder of Offensive Security.
“This vision is rooted in a strong belief in open source values, which is important to the Kali community, and that the primary means to achieve sound defensive security is through an offensive approach. This resonated with our team from the beginning and we are fortunate to have her on board.”
Wang served as COO and CFO at HackerOne for more than three years, playing a role in growing adoption of its hacker-powered security platform by more than 10x during that time. Prior to HackerOne, Wang was CFO at Eucalyptus, the open source software for building private and hybrid clouds, which was acquired by HPE.
During her three and a half years as CFO, CTO and later COO of Lynda.com, Wang led profitable year-over-year growth of more than 50 percent, including during the 2008 recession, and the expansion of its B2B subscription business.
“Ning is the ideal executive to lead Offensive Security’s next phase of growth and we look forward to partnering with her again,” said Adam Margolin, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity. “Her exceptional track record is based on a fundamental understanding of the importance of company culture and company values in building a successful business.”
Offensive Security is accelerating its investment in delivering penetration testing training products and services, while ensuring that Kali Linux remains freely available to the community forever. This includes releasing new online classes that were previously only available live and providing students with more content to understand what class to take next to assist them with their career goals.
The growth investment also encompasses its community projects, such as the recent redesign of Exploit Database, the archive of public domain exploits.