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Josh Lefkowitz
Chief Executive Officer
Josh Lefkowitz executes the company’s strategic vision to empower organizations with the fastest, most comprehensive coverage of threatening activity on the internet. 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 / Chief Product Officer
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.
Chris Camacho
Chief Revenue Officer
As Chief Revenue Officer, Chris Camacho leads the company’s global sales team, which includes solution architecture, business development, strategic integrations, partnerships, and revenue operations; he is also the architect of Flashpoint’s FPCollab sharing community. 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.
Donald Saelinger
President
Donald Saelinger is responsible for driving strategic and operational initiatives to accelerate Flashpoint’s growth and scale. In this role, Donald leads a broad portfolio including Marketing, Customer Success, Revenue Operations, Legal and related functions, and is focused on helping the company execute on a go-to-market approach that maximizes value to our customers. Prior to Flashpoint, Donald served as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Endgame, Inc., an endpoint detection and response company acquired by Elastic N.V. in 2019, and where he led a range of teams focused on growth, scale, and legal and compliance matters. Donald also previously served as the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Opower, Inc. (NYSE: OPWR), a global provider of SaaS solutions to electric and gas utilities that was acquired by Oracle, Inc. in 2016. Donald graduated from Columbia University in 2000 and received his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2006.
Rob Reznick
SVP 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.
Tom Hofmann
SVP 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
SVP Solutions Architecture
Jake Wells leads strategic integrations and information sharing as part of the client engagement & development team, which serves 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
SVP Strategy and 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.
Justin Rogers
VP Revenue Operations
Justin Rogers leads the Revenue Operations team at Flashpoint, aligning sales, marketing, partnerships, customer success, and finance across vision, planning, process, and goals. He leverages over 15 years of experience in security, strategy, product design, and implementation to drive growth, provide an end-to-end view of the customer journey, and a seamless customer experience. Recently, Justin led Marketing for Centripetal, bringing the first Threat Intelligence Gateway to market. Previously, he managed operations of a Counter IED lab electronics forensics division while forward deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Justin holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire.
Peter Partyka
VP Engineering
Peter Partyka leads Flashpoint’s engineering teams. Peter previously worked in the quantitative hedge fund space in New York City, implementing security and administrative solutions around proprietary trading platforms, high-availability cloud deployments, and hardening of applications and infrastructure. Peter leverages more than 16 years of experience in technology specializing in application security, red-teaming, penetration testing, exploit development, as well as blue-teaming. Peter has a long track record of managing tech teams and implementing engineering security best practices. Recently Peter led Flashpoint toward GDPR and CCPA compliance and has been a key architect of Flashpoint’s robust compliance programs. Peter has taught advanced cybersecurity courses at New York University and consulted at various tech startups during his career.
Paul Farley
VP APAC Sales
Paul Farley is responsible for the Asia-Pacific region of Flashpoint's international business, including Australia, Japan, and Singapore. In his role at Flashpoint, Paul is executing growth-oriented sales strategies across multiple countries and vertical markets, including both Government and Commercial. Paul has extensive experience leading regional sales for both pre-IPO growth businesses and large organizations such as RSA, EMC and DELL.
Steven Cooperman
VP Public Sector Sales
Steven Cooperman is responsible for Flashpoint’s strategy and sales growth of its public sector business. He also supports the development of a robust partner ecosystem for public sector business to deliver value added offerings and innovation focused to the mission of government. Steven has an established and diverse career in the Public Sector, holding leadership positions at a number of successful enterprise software companies and Federal System Integrators, including ServiceNow, HP, Oracle and Northrop Grumman. He holds an MA in Analytic Geography from the State University of New York - Binghamton, and received his BS in Geology from the State University - Oneonta.
Matthew Howell
VP Product
Matthew Howell leads the Product Management and Product Marketing teams for Flashpoint. He is responsible for developing a strong team that drives product adoption and user engagement through outcome based prioritization, continuous process improvement, and metrics driven development. Matthew brings a passion for diverse ideas, experience launching B2B SaaS products, building integration ecosystems, supporting five 9s SLAs, and leading distributed teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Virginia
Glenn Lemons
Executive Director Strategic Accounts Engagement
Glenn Lemons is Executive Director, Strategic Accounts Engagement at Flashpoint. He previously served as the acting Director of Citigroup's Cyber Intelligence Center where he was responsible for analyzing and reacting to intelligence from a variety of threats. These threats ranged from fraudulent activity and attempting to defraud Citi's clients to supporting security operations for the firm's worldwide network presence. He has extensive experience working with multiple clients across the financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and public sectors. Glenn also has more than 26 years of intelligence experience within the operational and support communities in the U.S. military and federal civilian service; seven of which focused on both defensive and offensive cyber operations. While working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he testified numerous times before U.S. Congressional committees and member requested open and closed sessions.
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Steve Leightell
Steve started his career in Internet sales in the early 1990s and was always a top sales rep before transitioning to business development. By the early 2000s, he was the Director of Business Development at DWL, where he managed a team that built partnerships with Accenture, Oracle, Tata Consulting, Wipro, Cognizant and IBM. Steve designed the channel and strategy that ultimately culminated in the acquisition of DWL by IBM in 2005. He went on to lead a global team within IBM that was responsible for major system integrator partnerships. In 2008, he left IBM to found a niche consulting firm focused on business development for SaaS organizations. Steve holds a BA in anthropology and sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa.
Ellie Wheeler
Ellie Wheeler is a Partner at Greycroft and is based in the firm’s New York office. Prior to joining Greycroft, Ellie worked in a similar role evaluating investment opportunities at Lowercase Capital. Ellie also worked at Cisco in Corporate Development doing acquisitions, investments, and strategy within the unified communications, enterprise software, mobile, and video sectors. While at Cisco, she was involved in multiple acquisitions and investments, including PostPath, Jabber, Xobni, and Tandberg. She began her career in growth capital private equity at Summit Partners in Boston. Ellie graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Glenn McGonnigle
Glenn McGonnigle is a General Partner at TechOperators. Prior to launching TechOperators in 2008, Glenn was CEO of VistaScape Security Systems, a venture-backed provider of enterprise intelligent video surveillance software. He lead the company through its successful sale to Siemens Building Technologies. Previously, Glenn was a co-founder and senior executive of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems (ISS) where he helped raise initial venture capital and launch the business. For 7 years, he led the business development team in developing sales channels and entering the managed security services market. During his tenure, the company grew from startup to revenues of over $225 million and was later acquired by IBM for $1.3 billion.
Brendan Hannigan
Brendan joined Polaris Partners in 2016 as an entrepreneur partner. In this role, he focuses on funding and founding companies in the technology sector with a concentration in cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity. Brendan is a co-founder of Sonrai Security and chairman of Twistlock, both Polaris investments. He also currently serves on the board of Bitsight Technologies and Flashpoint. A 25 year technology industry veteran, Brendan was most recently the general manager of IBM Security. Under Brendan’s leadership, IBM Security grew significantly faster than the overall security market to become the number one enterprise security provider in the world with almost $2B of annual revenue.
Matt Devost
Currently, Devost serves as CEO & Co-Founder of OODA LLC as well as a review board member for Black Hat. In 2010, he co-founded the cybersecurity consultancy FusionX LLC which was acquired by Accenture in August 2015, where he went on to lead Accenture's Global Cyber Defense practice. Devost also founded the Terrorism Research Center in 1996 where he served as President and CEO until November 2008 and held founding or leadership roles at iDefense, iSIGHT Partners, Total Intel, SDI, Tulco Holdings, and Technical Defense.

The Flashpoint Guide to Card Fraud: How Financial Institutions Can Better Detect, Mitigate, and Prevent Fraud

Blog
October 26, 2021

Introduction and key takeaways

Card Fraud, or carding, describes the process by which threat actors gain access to, and then leverage, stolen credentials or stolen credit card data in order to fraudulently purchase goods and services—or, to monetize ongoing fraud operations (or for sheer profit) by reselling them on the deep and dark web. 

For threat actors, cybercrime is a lucrative if risky business to be in. And for the organizations, communities, and individuals they target, it can be costly to fall victim to their malicious schemes. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach report, the global average cost of a data breach, inclusive of compromised credentials, was $4.24 million.

In order to proactively combat cyber attacks, and mitigate the risk of card fraud rapidly and comprehensively, security teams at financial institutions must gain an understanding of the risks they’re facing—including data breaches that may occur due to an intentional or unintentional activity, such as an employee error—and the tools that can help them proactively and consistently combat their exposure to risk. 

In this article we:

  • Define card fraud and review the main types of card fraud that financial institutions, retailers, and other ancillary organizations commonly face;
  • Outline how an organization’s sensitive data can become compromised;
  • Review the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) threat actors use to steal card information; 
  • Determine how threat actors leverage stolen card information—plus what motivates them;
  • Outline best practices for organizations to identify card exposure, prevent card and payment fraud, and take action.

What is card fraud?

Card fraud is a criminal activity where threat actors—sometimes individuals, sometimes “collectives”—target an organization’s data, including compromised credentials, card numbers, zip codes, and other sensitive data that could put an organization’s assets, customers, stakeholders, and reputation at risk if leveraged by threat actors on the deep and dark web.

This includes fraudulent purchases, identity fraud, account takeover (ATO), and reselling data in card shops, like the now-defunct Joker Stash and across other illicit marketplaces on the deep and dark web.  

Card fraud is the low-hanging fruit of cybercriminal activity because the barrier to entry is low, as many carding methods lack sophistication and do not require much technical acumen to execute.

Plus, they can be lucrative for nearly every entity along the threat intelligence lifecycle.

Why threat actors steal, sell, and buy compromised credentials and card data

Most threat actors targeting the financial sector are financially motivated—many of them focus on card and payment fraud as a vehicle for their financial goals: to fund future operations or for sheer profit.

However, financial motivation does not account for all cybercrime targeting the financial and retail sector. In addition to financial motivations, malicious actors have other aims that can also affect financial institutions, as well other organizations across the public and private sectors, well beyond credit card and payment fraud. These cyberattacks can be just as damaging.

Hacktivism

Some threat actors, known as “hacktivists,” are driven by a moral or ideological opposition to the products or services offered by organizations in both the public and private sectors. In order to raise fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), hacktivists disseminate social or political ideologies either as individuals or as part of a greater hacktivist group. 

Disruption and damage

It’s possible for competitors to target organizations that they deem a threat to their business. Similarly, nation-state threat actors may aim to cause disruption or damage to companies or organizations that provide a critical service.

CISO card fraud

Attention, notoriety

Threat actors motivated by notoriety will target the organizations that will most likely result in getting attention, and allocate their resources away from smaller scale or opportunistic cyberattacks.

Insider threats

Insider threats refer to both the unintentional and malicious threats that employees pose to organizations. Malicious insiders leverage their privileged access to steal or exfiltrate data, most commonly via email. They then use this data as a blackmail or extortion device, or resell it in illicit threat actor communities. Insiders can also serve as a point of contact for threat actors looking to install or spread card stealer and point-of-sale (POS) malware, and  sometimes offer out their service as an insider within illicit communities. 

Employees can become inadvertent insiders by practicing poor cybersecurity hygiene, including clicking phishing emails or misconfiguring digital assets. 

How threat actors attack

Card-not-present, card present 

Card fraud generally falls into two categories: card-not-present and card-present.

Card-not-present-related fraud relies on breached financial data that’s being sold and traded on dark web markets, illicit forums, and chat services. 

Card-not-present fraud allows threat actors to be in possession of a large number of compromised cards and credentials in order to fund illegitimate purchases. Or, they can resell the stolen information to other carders who then leverage the exposed data most frequently via card cloning or digital shopping account linking. 

This data generally is exposed when a threat actor obtains data that is inadvertently leaked, such as via a code repository or misconfigured network device; financial records and other personally identifiable information (PII) on poorly secured websites; and bank login credentials. Or, they employ targeted skimming and shimming attacks against ATMs, POS systems, and, occasionally at gas pumps where credit cards and debit card payments are accepted.

In contrast, card present fraud requires the threat actor to physically present a fake or stolen card to the merchants. This method has obvious pitfalls that card-not-present fraudsters are not subjected to—getting caught in person or the card being declined, for instance—making it much more difficult for the threat actor selling credentials or using them to make off with fraudulently purchased goods and services.

Card present activity has been mostly overshadowed by card-not-present fraud, but it still presents risk to financial institutions and retailers alike.

Malware

Some types of malware are specifically built for data exfiltration or logging. These include remote access trojans (RATs) which allow an attacker to establish a remote connection to exfiltrate data—and stealers, which are trojans that can steal login credentials, cookies, credit card numbers, and other browser-stored information. 

Threat actor guide

Ransomware

Extortionist ransomware attacks threaten the victim organization with the sale of sensitive or private information in order to  get them to pay the ransom. Ransomware groups understand that retailers often store sensitive customer information including financial data, which could be valuable both in negotiations and in resale of the data on dark web marketplaces. 

Read More:The Rise and Fall of Joker’s Stash, a Flashpoint report on Joker’s Stack, the defunct card shop that was one of the largest and longest-standing in history.

DDoS

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is primarily used to disrupt or completely shutdown a network’s availability, though increasingly, they pave the way for data breaches. 

DDoS attacks are used to mask other malicious behavior, like installing malware, and to occupy security and IT teams while other malicious activity is being performed on the network and threat actors gain a foothold. This foothold could enable threat actors to exfiltrate sensitive data from financial institutions, putting assets, executives, customers, and third parties at risk.

Social engineering

Social engineering is the art of psychologically manipulating humans into performing a desired action or revealing sensitive information. 

Threat actors employ these methods to bypass corporate anti-fraud, security, and user verification procedures to facilitate financial fraud. Many of these methods involve employing social engineering tactics against customer service representatives either in-person, online, or over the phone in order to convince or persuade them to perform an action that would enable the fraud. 

In almost every situation, customer service representatives are not aware that they are being used to facilitate the fraud.

Cloud

Most cloud computing-related vulnerabilities stem from misconfigurations, leaving data exposed to the internet and thus exposed to threat actors looking to steal or sell this information. Threat actors have been observed targeting the cloud backups of financial institutions, which can customer PII, code repositories, and other sensitive data that could put organizations at risk if exposed.

Third-party and supply chain

Financial institutions must be aware of supply chain risks of third party vendors, like cloud service providers, that offer digital solutions and data storage. A breach or cyberattack along any of these steps of the supply chain could not only affect business, but compromise sensitive customer data.  

Credential stuffing

Credential stuffing attacks, which includes brute force attacks, refer to various techniques relying on testing a large number of username: password combinations against login infrastructure. Threat actors who carry out this type of attacks typically do so to gain unauthorized entry to poorly secured bank, e-commerce or other type of account or to test the validity of compromised credentials before selling them. 

Card present: How threat actors leverage compromised credentials

Once they obtain stolen information, from credit card data and PII to login credentials, threat actors can leverage the data in a variety of ways, depending on their motivations. Threat actors will list their stolen information on card shops or account shops, depending on the nature of the compromised data. Credit card numbers and details are listed on card shops, and bank logs or retail site logins are more likely to be sold in account shops. 

Card present: Gift card fraud

Gift card fraud is unique to the retail sector and is the result of fraudsters using funds from stolen credit cards to purchase gift cards in order to cash out their compromised card as quickly as possible. Threat actors will generally buy high-priced gift cards to use for themselves at a later date. Some will also advertise a gift card service on deep and dark web forums where they promise to acquire goods at a discount, using the gift cards purchased with stolen funds. 

Retailers can get out in front of holiday shopping related card fraud by implementing mitigation techniques like one time passwords (OTP), multi factor authentication, network segmentation if possible, and least privilege for employees to lessen exposure to financial information. Customers should also remain vigilant about their personal security practices surrounding their financial information and password hygiene.

Card present: Card cloning

Card cloning refers to software that threat actors use to activate stolen financial information via a physical card. Threat actors will copy this stolen information onto a physical card, which can then be used to withdraw cash at ATMs. 

Threat actors then bundle and sell these cloned cards and ship them, discreetly, to buyers. 

Digital shop linking often enables threat actors to link stolen credit card information to various shopping applications to cash out the stolen credit card. One way they can do this is by purchasing gift cards. 

Card-not-present: How threat actors leverage compromised credentials

Fraudulent purchases

Perhaps most commonly, threat actors will leverage CNP fraud to fund illegitimate online purchases. This allows threat actors to quickly and digitally cash out of their stolen cards or accounts. In these situations, the onus of mitigation will fall on the affiliated financial institution or merchant, who will focus on rectifying the issue on the client-side, allowing the threat actor to make off with their fraudulently purchased items. 

Identify fraud

Card fraud is a version of identity fraud. Depending on the data purchased, card numbers can come with additional personally identifiable details like social security numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. This additional information can possibly give threat actors access to bank accounts, or perhaps enough details in order to open fraudulent accounts or apply for fraudulent credit cards. A common mitigation employed by organizations (usually banks) that were the victim of a breach including financial information, is free credit and identity theft monitoring. 

Account takeover (ATO)

Account takeover (ATO) fraud is another form of identity theft, where threat actors leverage certain PII or other tactics like phishing in order to overtake a victim’s account. Once inside a bank account, fraudsters can transfer money, request new credit or bank cards, change passwords, and notification settings so that the account owner is not alerted to this fraudulent activity, at least right away. In an account takeover scheme, the threat actor tries to remain unnoticed as long as possible.

Reselling in card shops 

After credit or debit card information or bank logs have been harvested, threat actors generally have a limited amount of time to capitalize on the access that they have, before fraud is detected and the card or account is frozen. If a threat actor is in possession of a large number of card numbers or bank logs, it is common for them to offload the ones they may not be able to timely access to sell this information on card shops, account shops, or forums. Financial information especially is consistently valuable in these marketplaces, as the potential for financial reward is often much higher than the purchase price.

Solutions for fraud teams: How to identify threats, reduce risk, and take action after breaches

With responsibilities including combating data theft, safeguarding assets, and keeping up with threat actors’ ever-evolving tactics, financial institution CISOs and fraud teams require highly specific resources in order to identify cyber threats, reduce risk, and scale operations effectively. 

Below are some best practices that SOC and CTI teams can employ to identify cyber threats and rectify them.

Minimize card fraud

  • Understand and track data relating to your cards or your exposure in a timely basis. Flashpoint’s card fraud module provides high-level analytics designed to summarize your exposure, as well as granular shop and dump data to help you identify specific cards and accounts on which you need to take action.
  • Participate in information exchanges with other institutions to maximize common point of purchase data and related context.

  • Proactively use the data you receive by establishing fraud risk models, de-authorizing breached cards, and assigning fraud professionals to analyze and triage the data. 

Compromised Credentials Monitoring

  • Identify accounts which have been compromised on a consistent basis in order to provide ongoing fraud monitoring without impacting user experience.

  • Gain insight into the types of domains being targeted, as well as the most vulnerable passwords
    and cards that are most likely to be linked to unique breaches requiring further action.

  • Integrate data within client’s existing business processes to make it immediately actionable.

Combat Account Takeover (ATO)

Search and monitor Flashpoint’s unique collections for compromised credentials belonging to their employees in order to flag accounts, reset passwords, and restrict permissions to prevent actors from accessing confidential or personally identifiable information (PII).

Leverage our OCR technology, which enables fraud teams to identify text, logos, and objects from multimedia within Flashpoint collections.

Monitor for compromised credentials belonging to your customers, enabling you to preempt fraudulent activity and protect your client base.

See Flashpoint’s Card Fraud Solutions in Action 

Flashpoint partners with financial institutions of all sizes to address card fraud threats, including many of the top global banks. Flashpoint’s Card Fraud solutions equip security teams with the tools, dashboards, alerts, and actionable intelligence they need to proactively identify threats, prevent card fraud, and take action to combat exposure to risk. Sign up for a demo or a free 30-day trial today.

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