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Experts tackle cybersecurity from the inside

A few of the companies adding board members with cybersecurity expertise:

Conversa Health

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The company hired Peter Levin, who overhauled the Department of Veterans Affairs' online health records system and now runs a data security company. "Healthcare tends to be at the front of the spear for attackers," Conversa Health CEO West Shell III said. Companies "need to have smart, technical board members. If not, they are going to wish they had."

Xoom Corp.

The online money transfer service added Tom Killalea, Amazon's first chief information officer. "Data hacking and data loss … are being scrutinized at higher and higher levels," Xoom CEO John Kunze said. "All boards have to be prepared to take accountability and oversight of information security."

General Motors

Linda Gooden, who ran the Lockheed Martin division that builds and manages computer systems for the Department of Defense and other large customers, was tapped to help GM. Listed among her oversight responsibilities is "vehicle cybersecurity," a hot topic given the recent news about hackers remotely taking control of Jeeps and Teslas.

American International Group Inc.

The insurance giant known as AIG added former Northrop Grumman executive Linda Mills. With degrees in math and computer science, she climbed the defense contractor's ranks over 12 years, most recently overseeing nearly all complex projects and their security components.

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