CrowdStrike CEO surprised that cybersecurity firm was called out in Trump-Ukraine call

CrowdStrike investigated the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
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Queenie Wong

Yun-Hee Kim (left), the technology editor for The Wall Street Journal, speaks to Sarah Guo, general partner of Greylock Partners, and CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz on Monday during a conference on Monday in Laguna Beach. 

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CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity firm that investigated the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee, recently became entangled in a controversy involving President Donald Trump and Ukraine's president.

Trump in July asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into CrowdStrike, according to a memo released by the White House in September. The infamous call involving Trump has been part of an impeachment inquiry into whether the US president sought help from a foreign leader to harm a political rival.

The mention of CrowdStrike was something that even the CEO of the cybersecurity firm George Kurtz wasn't expecting.

"Well, it's a surprise to me. I think from our perspective we get called in all the time to do forensic work," he said during The Wall Street Journal's Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach on Monday.

Kurtz also said that the conspiracy theory saying Ukraine was behind the 2016 DNC breach has been "debunked" by the cybersecurity company and the US intelligence community. CrowdStrike concluded in its report Russian hackers were behind the DNC hack.

"You know, I'm not a politician. I'm a security guy and we're just focused on keeping our customers safe," Kurtz said.

When asked by WSJ technology editor Yun-Hee Kim why Trump would mention CrowdStrike in his call, Kurtz replied, "you'd have to ask him."