Christopher Tarbell, whose law enforcement career spanned sixteen years, now leads BRG’s Cyber Operations and Incident Response practice.
While earning his master’s degree in computer science, with a concentration in information security, he worked on computer-related crimes with two police departments. This experience led to a nine-year career with the FBI.
As a computer forensic examiner with the FBI’s global forensic team, he spent his first four years engaged in computer forensic investigations and data collections all over the world on matters that included international terrorism, botnets, and crimes against children.
In 2009, Mr. Tarbell joined the FBI’s preeminent cybercrime squad in the Bureau’s New York field office. As an FBI special agent, he was the lead investigator on a number of cutting-edge cases that spanned multiple countries, including prosecutions of the leadership of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacking crews, the owners and operators of the billion-dollar illicit online marketplace “Silk Road,” and the Eastern European operators of a multimillion-computer botnet that distributed malware and facilitated millions of dollars’ worth of online advertising fraud. In connection with his work on the Silk Road case, Mr. Tarbell seized over 177,000 Bitcoins (more than $200 million worth during the investigation), the largest such seizure in history.
During the course of his FBI career, Mr. Tarbell developed deep working relationships with law enforcement partners in countries including the United Kingdom, Estonia, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, Romania, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, and Sweden. He is also regularly called on to advise and teach cyber investigative techniques to foreign and domestic law enforcement officers, and lectures to business and government groups, including EUROPOL, on cyber threat and the means to address it through public and private partnerships.
Mr. Tarbell also has extensive technical training. He has been certified by both the FBI and the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists as a Forensic Computer Examiner. He was also certified by the FBI as a “subject-matter expert” on cellphones, mobile computing devices, and the Windows and Unix/Linux operating systems, meaning he is certified to seize, search, examine, and provide expert testimony in court about these categories of evidence. He has been qualified and has testified as an expert computer forensic witness at federal criminal trials.
Since leaving government service, Mr. Tarbell has continued to provide services and guidance in computer and network security. These engagements have included a broad range of industries, such as financial, technology, media, retail, government, and education.
Managing Director, Cybersecurity and Investigations
2014 – 2015
Federal Bureau of Investigation
2009 – 2014
Computer Forensic Examiner
2005 – 2009
Staunton Police Department
2003 – 2005
James Madison University Police Department
2000 – 2005
Areas of Expertise
James Madison University
MS, Computer Science, 2004
BS, Health Science, 2000