Josh Lefkowitz
Chief Executive Officer
Josh Lefkowitz executes the company’s strategic vision to empower organizations with Business Risk Intelligence (BRI). He has worked extensively with authorities to track and analyze terrorist groups. Mr. Lefkowitz also served as a consultant to the FBI’s senior management team and worked for a top tier, global investment bank. Mr. Lefkowitz holds an MBA from Harvard University and a BA from Williams College.
Evan Kohlmann
Chief Innovation Officer
Evan Kohlmann focuses on product innovation at Flashpoint where he leverages fifteen years’ experience tracking Al-Qaida, ISIS, and other terrorist groups. He has consulted for the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Justice, the Australian Federal Police, and Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, among others. Mr. Kohlmann holds a JD from the Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School and a BSFS in International Politics from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown Univ.
Josh Devon
Chief Operating Officer / VP Product
Josh Devon focuses on product vision and strategy at Flashpoint while ensuring the company’s departments function synergistically during its rapid growth. He also works to ensure that customers receive best in class products, services, and support. Previously, Mr. Devon co-founded the SITE Intelligence Group where he served as Assistant Director. He holds an MA from SAIS at Johns Hopkins Univ. At the Univ. of Pennsylvania, he received a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BA in English from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Jennifer Leggio
Chief Marketing Officer / VP Operations
Jennifer Leggio is responsible for Flashpoint’s marketing, customer acquisition, and operations. Ms. Leggio has more than 20 years of experience driving marketing, communications and go-to-market strategies in the cybersecurity industry. She’s previously held senior leadership roles at Digital Shadows, Cisco, Sourcefire, and Fortinet. She’s been a contributor to Forbes and ZDNet, and has spoken on the importance of coordinated disclosure at DEF CON and Hack in the Box, and on threat actor “publicity” trends at RSA Conference, Gartner Security Summit, and SXSW Interactive.
Chris Camacho
Chief Strategy Officer
Chris Camacho partners with Flashpoint’s executive team to develop, communicate, and execute strategic initiatives pertaining to Business Risk Intelligence (BRI). With over 15 years of cybersecurity leadership experience, he has spearheaded initiatives across Operational Strategy, Incident Response, Threat Management, and Security Operations to ensure cyber risk postures align with business goals. Most recently as a Senior Vice President of Information Security at Bank of America, Mr. Camacho was responsible for overseeing the Threat Management Program. An entrepreneur, Mr. Camacho also serves as CEO for NinjaJobs: a career-matching community for elite cybersecurity talent. He has a BS in Decision Sciences & Management of Information Systems from George Mason University.
Lisa Iadanza
Chief People Officer
Lisa M. Iadanza leads all functional areas of People Operations at Flashpoint, including human resources, talent acquisition & management, employee engagement, and developing high performance teams. In addition to collaborating with the executive team to drive strategic growth, she plays an integral role in fostering Flashpoint’s culture and mission. Driven by her passions for mentorship, employee advocacy, and talent development, Ms. Iadanza has more than twenty years of experience in building, scaling, and leading human resources functions. Prior to Flashpoint, she held leadership roles at Conde Nast, Terra Technology, and FreeWheel. She is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds a bachelor’s degree in management with concentrations in human resources and marketing from State University of New York at Binghamton.
Rob Reznick
VP of Finance and Corporate Development
Rob Reznick leads the finance, accounting, and corporate development teams at Flashpoint. Rob previously served as Director of Finance & Accounting for 1010data (acquired by Advance/Newhouse), and Director of Finance for Financial Guard (acquired by Legg Mason) after prior work in forensic accounting and dispute consulting. Mr. Reznick is a Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA and MAcc from the Fisher College of Business at the Ohio State University, and a BBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Lance James
Chief Scientist / VP Engineering
Lance James is responsible for leading Flashpoint’s technology development. Prior to joining Flashpoint in 2015, he was the Head of Cyber Intelligence at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Mr. James has been an active member of the security community for over 20 years and enjoys working creatively together with technology teams to design and develop impactful solutions that disrupt online threats.
Brian Costello
SVP Global Sales and Solution Architecture
Brian Costello, a 20-year information technology and security solutions veteran, is responsible for leading the Global Sales, Solution Architecture, and Professional Services teams at Flashpoint. Throughout his career, Brian has successfully built security and cloud teams that have provided customers with innovative technology solutions, exceeded targets and consistently grown business year over year. Prior to Flashpoint, Brian led a global security and cloud vertical practice for Verizon. Brian also held senior leadership roles at Invincea, Risk Analytics and Cybertrust. Brian received his B.A. from George Mason University.
Tom Hofmann
VP Intelligence
Tom Hofmann leads the intelligence directorate that is responsible for the collection, analysis, production, and dissemination of Deep and Dark Web data. He works closely with clients to prioritize their intelligence requirements and ensures internal Flashpoint operations are aligned to those needs. Mr. Hofmann has been at the forefront of cyber intelligence operations in the commercial, government, and military sectors, and is renowned for his ability to drive effective intelligence operations to support offensive and defensive network operations.
Jake Wells
VP Customer Success
Jake Wells leads the company’s customer success team, serving as an internal advocate for our government and commercial clients to ensure Flashpoint’s intelligence solutions meet their evolving needs. He leverages a decade of experience running cyber and counterterrorism investigations, most recently with the NYPD Intelligence Bureau, to maximize the value customers generate from our products and services. Mr. Wells holds an MA from Columbia University and a BA from Emory University.
Brian Brown
VP Business Development
Brian Brown is responsible for the overall direction of strategic sales and development supporting Flashpoint’s largest clients. In his role, Mr. Brown focuses on designing and executing growth-oriented sales penetration strategies across multiple vertical markets, including both Government and Commercial, supporting Flashpoint’s Sales and Business Development Teams. An experienced entrepreneur, Mr. Brown also serves as CSO for NinjaJobs, a private community created to match elite cybersecurity talent with top tier global jobs and also advise growth-stage cybersecurity companies.
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Flashpoint Introduces Innovative Approach for Use Case-Driven Intelligence

BEC: All We Need is Love and Mules

May 7, 2018

Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams have for years ensnared executives inside large organizations, including decision-makers at the highest levels who are duped by clever social engineering into transferring sometimes millions of dollars into a fraudulent account.

A growing segment of this type of attack, however, plays on the heartstrings of the lonely and preys on singles, divorcées, and the widowed who are lured into romance-related scams and ultimately become unwitting agents of these crimes. Some, led by their emotions, unknowingly become money mules and transfer or launder funds for their fraudulent “lovers.” Romance fraud is a sad aspect of BEC, which has cost organizations billions of dollars in losses, far ahead of threats such as ransomware that have dominated headlines for years.

BEC: Much More than CEO Fraud

One of the first things that comes to mind with regard to BEC is CEO fraud, where a malicious actor impersonates a top executive and sends an email to someone in the organization asking them to wire money outside of normal processes. While CEO fraud makes headlines when companies report millions of dollars lost, it is a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the inner workings of how these operations work. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and others in the industry often use BEC as an umbrella term because of the number of criminal activities that overlap, which include (but are not limited to) romance scams, email account takeovers, real estate scams, phishing, tax fraud, and lottery scams.

Romance scams are behind a growing faction of BEC victims. Mules are often duped into creating accounts or wiring money for their “lovers,” but are in the end taken advantage of by an attacker. Romance victims are simply looking for love, and are not able to see through the scam in many cases. Romance scammers are ubiquitous, some using the same scripts over and over on different websites trying to make a phony love connection with another potential money mule. One dating script, below, dates back to 2010 and has been used as recently as this March, with more than 1,600 fake posts meant to lure unsuspecting users into phony relationships.

Image 1: Dating script used by actors
Image 1: Dating script used by actors

For romance victims, they are often groomed by an attacker after an initial contact and relationship on social media or dating sites, before they’re convinced to carry out what are illegal transfers or open fraudulent bank accounts. Some romance scammers will go to any length in order to find money mules, including in an extreme case, creating fake profiles for singles living with HIV, below.

Image 2: Dating pages for singles living with HIV
Image 2: Dating pages for singles living with HIV

The overlaps between BEC and romance scams are strong, and romancers often have ties to other spammer activity. While investigating actors involved in different spammer groups, it was discovered that many were part of different dating groups, below, that are riddled with fake posts.

Image 3: Public groups by a user who is in spammer or wire transfer groups, and on dating pages.
Image 3: Public groups by a user who is in spammer or wire transfer groups, and on dating pages.

With BEC, it’s difficult to identify all the possible links between each aspect of romance scams, phishing kits, romance mules, and other overlapping types of crime because they are not clearly set in stone. Using Maltego, it is possible to diagram some of the overlaps and how they interact with each other to give a graphical representation, below, of how these types of scams may be related.

Image 4: A graphical representation of the different aspects and overlaps of a Business Email Compromise scam.
Image 4: A graphical representation of the different aspects and overlaps of a Business Email Compromise scam.

BEC’s $5 Billion Problem

Business Email Compromise is already a $5 billion USD problem, according to the IC3, but organizations still don’t lend it the same credence and attention as they would a ransomware attack. What follows is a typical BEC outcome:


“Good morning! We sent the 5% down payment for the house to the escrow account you sent us! Is everything good on your end?”

“No payments have been received on our end.”

“Sure you did! We sent it to account 449623235 like you had asked us to in the updated email.”

“Updated email? We only sent one email for you to send the funds to 62969110. Why did you send it to another account?”

“…You told us that this was an updated account and to wire it there. Are you telling me we just lost our life savings for our new home…? Wait, why did that email come from Nigeria and not from you?”


BEC is considered one of the lower forms of cyber crime, however the fragmentation and ease of execution makes it an easy and effective way for actors to make money.

BEC’s 2017 losses beat ransomware for a second year in a row, largely because it’s relatively simple: start with reconnaissance on a company and its partners, send a purchase order with a bank account number for transfers, and hope for the best. Antivirus won’t catch it, because there’s no malware, and data loss prevention (DLP) tools won’t flag a simple Word document central to the scam.

There is no silver bullet, but to start addressing the problem, one must understand all of the pieces to the puzzle in order to avoid playing whack-a-mole. While bank accounts, romance victims, and sending phishing emails to a company have little in common, together these form an effective tool and layer of obfuscation that can be used by criminals to steal money and accounts from organizations. Greater understanding of where and how the threats work gives incident responders the effective tools in order to combat these threats.

The FBI, meanwhile, suggests businesses implement controls such as establishing out-of-band communication channels, such as telephone calls, to verify large financial transactions typical in BEC scams. Another technical mitigation suggested by the FBI is that organizations encrypt and digitally sign email when possible.

Companies should also stress that employees and executives be vigilant about requests for secrecy and pressure to take quick action, avoid opening links or attachments in email, implement two-factor authentication for corporate accounts, and other basic security controls. Sudden changes in partners’ business practices should also be considered a red flag, and in such cases, the FBI recommends verifying communication via other channels that the other party is legitimate. A complete list of protection strategies can be found on the FBI’s IC3 website.


Flashpoint Analyst Team

The Flashpoint analyst team is composed of subject-matter experts with tradecraft skills honed through years of operating in the most austere online environments, training in elite government and corporate environments, and building and leading intelligence programs across all sectors. Our team covers more than 20 languages including Arabic, Mandarin, Farsi, Turkish, Kazakh, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, and Portuguese.

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