In the ever-evolving domain of cybersecurity, Irby Thompson, currently CEO of OP, has made a lasting mark with his dedication to innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. His journey, characterized by a keen focus on the protection of intelligent edge devices and industrial control systems, has established him as a notable figure within the critical sector of infrastructure security.
Notable milestones along his professional startup path include early executive leadership of cyber startup Pikewerks Corporation, which was later acquired by Raytheon Company in 2011, and founding Star Lab Corp., which was purchased by Wind River Systems in 2020. Having successfully led multiple technical teams to develop cutting-edge software security products, Thompson’s reputation as a trusted partner to Fortune 500 companies has played a crucial role in bringing innovative cybersecurity solutions to market.
Thompson is well-regarded for his expertise in both offensive and defensive cybersecurity. His insights are not confined to theory, and he has shared his knowledge at renowned security conferences like Blackhat and Defcon, with the goal of advancing the state of practice across the industry. His open, coalition-of-the-willing leadership style has been a vital asset in the fast-paced cybersecurity ecosystem, and guides OP's strategic direction while also nurturing peer industry partnerships.
Thompson has a passion for transforming theoretical cybersecurity concepts into tangible protections for mission-critical systems. His groundbreaking work in developing resilient anti-tamper technology and robust software protection solutions has been instrumental in elevating “secure by design” standards for the aerospace & defense industry. At the core of his entrepreneurial drive is a commitment to overcoming the most difficult customer security challenges with ingenious yet viable solutions that effectively resolve critical issues.
Thompson's academic background provided a solid foundation for his future contributions to the field of cybersecurity. He earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science, mathematics, and management of technology from Vanderbilt University, followed by a master’s in information security from the Georgia Institute of Technology. These academic achievements have given him a deep well of knowledge that he has since applied to make meaningful and widespread contributions across the field of computer security.
Founded in 2022, and named after a military term for a simulated adversary, Irby’s latest endeavor, OP (i.e. the “opposing force”), is at the forefront of automated cyber defense. Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the company has built on pioneering DARPA research to create its flagship product, the OP Aggressor® product security platform. This unique platform provides product development teams with deep security insights throughout the product lifecycle, evaluating risks and eliminating vulnerabilities at the binary level. The multi-year partnership with DARPA, a well-known catalyst for technological advancements, has positioned OP as a leader in adapting defense-grade security automation for commercial use. By protecting connected devices that undergird all modern infrastructure, OP demonstrates its deep-seated commitment to cultivating a world where cyber resilience is not just an ideal, but a reality.