Bulletproof panels, private jets, and rumoured secret passages: Here's what it costs to protect the world's richest tech moguls

Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Silicon Valley executives are among the richest people on the planet.
  • They are also among the most famous, and can become a lightning rod for public anger.
  • They spend millions on security measures: hiring armed bodyguards, installing bulletproof panels in their offices, and installing rumoured escape passages.
  • Scroll on to see how much the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos spend on security.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Silicon Valley contains a high concentration of the world’s richest tech billionaires, many of whom spend huge amounts on personal security measures.

Public filings can give us some insight into how much tech moguls spend on security, as their companies shell out millions to keep their executives safe, sometimes by buying them commodities like private planes.


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Public records are just the tip of the iceberg, as Silicon Valley’s richest can supplement their security costs out of their own (considerably deep) pockets.

Here, in ascending order, is how much tech’s C-suite stars spend on security.


Jack Dorsey: $US68,500 at last count.

Scott MahaskeyJack Dorsey was accosted by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones earlier after giving evidence to Congress.

Jack Dorsey’s security costs were last revealed in 2016 in an SEC filing that showed Twitter paid him $US68,506 for “residential security and protective detail.”

Otherwise, Dorsey declined all compensation, a practice which he has more or less continued – his 2018 salary amounted to $US1.40.


See more:
Twitter paid CEO Jack Dorsey just $US1.40 as his salary in 2018 – and that was a pay raise


Eric Schmidt: $US296,353

Schmidt stepped down as Google chairman in 2018, and the previous year the company spent just under $US300,000 on Schmidt’s personal security. Forbes currently puts Schmidt’s net worth at $US13.2 billion.

Source: Forbes


Tim Cook: $US310,000

Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Apple spent $US310,000 on CEO Tim Cook in 2018, according to a proxy statement filed in January of this year. By Silicon Valley standards, this is a very humble expenditure – especially considering Apple regularly dips in and out of being the world’s most valuable company.

Source: Wired


Sundar Pichai: $US1.2 million.

Google spent $US1.2 million on security CEO Sundar Pichai in 2018, almost double the previous year when he was handed $US680,000 for personal protection.

Source: Business Insider


The sudden uptick in Pichai’s security expenditure came months after an active shooter entered YouTube’s San Bruno campus, injuring three employees.

Pichai’s new “overall security program” was approved in July 2018, three months after Nasim Najafi Aghdam shot three people and then herself at YouTube HQ in San Bruno. Following the attack, YouTube announced that it was stepping up its security in general.

A Google spokesperson told Business Insider’s Nick Bastone that stepping up Pichai’s security was part of a more general trend – Pichai’s security cost also doubled between 2016 and 2017.

Source: Business Insider


Jeff Bezos: $US1.6 million.

The world’s richest man doesn’t spend the most on security – at least not publicly. Forbes reports that the amount Amazon shells out for Bezos’ security hasn’t changed since 2012 despite the billionaire’s wealth growing by approximately $US113 billion. An Amazon spokesperson said Bezos pays separately for his personal security.

Source: Forbes


Bezos recently had bulletproof panels installed in his office.

JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

A Seattle city planning permit, spotted by the Daily Beast, showed that Amazon applied to install bulletproof panels in Bezos’ office in November 2018, and was granted permission in January. The panels cost $US180,000 to install and can withstand multiple shots from a military assault rifle.

Source: The Daily Beast


Bezos’ personal protection bills aren’t available to scrutinize, but this year his security chief said the billionaire wrote him a blank check to launch a private investigation.

After Jeff Bezos’ intimate texts to former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez were leaked to The National Enquirer, Bezos hired his personal security chief Gavin de Becker to investigate the source of the leak.

Writing in The Daily Beast in March, de Becker said Bezos told him to “spend whatever is needed” to get to the root of how his texts were obtained by The Enquirer.

De Becker’s investigation concluded, “with high confidence” that Saudi Arabia was behind the leak, due to Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post and the paper’s coverage of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Source: The Daily Beast


Larry Ellison: $US1.6 million

Justin Sullivan/Getty

Oracle pays the annual costs of protecting CTO and cofounder Larry Ellison’s “primary residence,” which Forbes speculated is likely to be his Japanese-architecture-inspired Woodside estate in California, although the company declined to comment.

Source: Wired and Forbes


Dara Khosrowshahi: $US2 million.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber.

Uber’s recent IPO filing revealed that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s compensation included $US2 million for “security costs,” roughly equivalent to his bonus.


Sheryl Sandberg: $US2.9 million.

Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Sandberg’s security costs climbed by $US200,000 in 2018, and Facebook spent $US1 million on private aircraft travel for the COO.

Source: Business Insider


Mark Zuckerberg: $US20 million.

Zuckerberg’s security costs skyrocketed in tandem with the company’s disastrous 2018.

Facebook spent $US10 million on personal protection for Zuckerberg last year, up $US2.5 million from the year before. He was also given a “pre-tax allowance” of $US10 million for “additional costs” to do with keeping both himself and his family safe.

In an SEC filing, the company said that public rage directed towards Facebook was part of the reason for Zuckerberg’s high security spend.

“He is synonymous with Facebook, and as a result, negative sentiment regarding our company is directly associated with, and often transferred to, Mr. Zuckerberg,” Facebook said.

Source: Business Insider


Zuckerberg’s security detail includes 24/7 protection.

Business Insider’s Rob Price published a 5,000-word investigation into Facebook’s security operations, and discovered that Zuckerberg is constantly protected by armed executive protection officers who stand guard outside his Bay Area homes – at least one of which is equipped with a panic room.

Source: Business Insider


The Facebook CEO is even rumoured to have an escape passage under his conference room.

FacebookFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg toboggans down the Great Wall of China.

Price discovered a popular rumour among Facebook employees is that Zuckerberg has a “panic chute” in case him and his team need to evacuate the offices. One source told Price they had been briefed on the passageway’s existence. Facebook declined to comment.

Source: Business Insider


Elon Musk: Unclear.

One of the most bombastic and divisive personalities to dominate Silicon Valley, Elon Musk’s security costs are not readily available.

Tesla declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.


In November 2018, the Tesla CEO tweeted that one of his other ventures, The Boring Company, was looking for someone to guard a Monty Python-inspired watchtower.

Specifically, Musk said that he needed, “a knight to yell insults at people in a French accent.”

Source: Business Insider


Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin haven’t revealed their security costs in many years.

Getty/Justin SullivanGoogle founders Larry Page (left) Sergey Brin.

The last time Google disclosed security costs for its cofounders was in 2006, when it gave Larry Page $US33,195 for transportation, logistics, and personal security. Page is now CEO at Google’s parent company Alphabet, which also hasn’t disclosed security expenditure for him.

Source: Forbes

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