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.
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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Analysis of “DirtyCow” Kernel Exploit

October 21, 2016

Key Takeaways

  • On October 20, 2016, Ars Technica published an article about a serious kernel-level Linux exploit which allows for local privilege escalation attacks.
  • Red Hat Product Security has identified this exploit being used in the wild and addressed the apparent vulnerability caused by this exploit. Other Linux distribution operating systems are also in the process of patching the exploit, which is known as “DirtyCow.”
  • Flashpoint has identified three different Proofs of Concept (POCs) of exploiting this vulnerability that are available in open sources.
  • Flashpoint strongly recommends patching affected systems.



On October 20, 2016, Ars Technica posted an article detailing a serious kernel-level exploit, which has existed in the Linux kernel for the last nine years. While local privilege escalation attacks are not new, an exploit that existed for an extended period of time is of critical concern.

For grading the seriousness of an exploit, two things are typically considered: the ease of use to deploy; and whether the exploit is being actively exploited. Red Hat Product Security is aware of this exploit being used in the wild, which raises the priority level of patching the exploit. Other Linux distributions appear to be following suit and are addressing the exploit called “DirtyCow.”

Exploit Analysis

At the time of writing, Flashpoint has identified three different Proofs of Concept (POCs) of exploiting this vulnerability that are available in open sources.

  • The “dirtyc0w” exploit can be used to allow write access to files which are typically marked read-only.
  • “Cowroot” will escalate privileges to root.
  • “Dirtycow-mem” will allow for root access by patching libc’s getuid (which returns the real user ID of the calling process), and envoking su (superuser command).


By analyzing the exploit that allows root access, it is apparent that DirtyCow leverages a race condition to abuse process priority execution in order to enable root access. By downloading and compiling the source code on a testing system, analysts observed that the exploit is able to spawn a root terminal process in a matter of seconds. “Cowroot” does this by exploiting a race condition, and if the exploit is successful, /usr/sbin/passwrd is overwritten with shellcode that executes bash.

Image 1: Shellcode being used to execute bash
Image 1: Shellcode being used to execute bash
Image 2: Screenshot of Cowroot exploit
Image 2: Screenshot of Cowroot exploit

When tested, Cowroot can cause the system to hang.

Dirtycow-mem uses the same exploit, but gains root access privileges using a different method. Dirtycow-mem patches libc’s getuid call, then calls su, quickly allowing for root access. It is worth noting that the exploit crashes with a kernel panic within a few minutes.

Image 3: Dirtycow-mem being used to exploit a system
Image 3: Dirtycow-mem being used to exploit a system

While the Cowroot and Dirtycow-mem exploits appear to crash the kernel, it is only a matter of time before exploit developers find a more elegant way to control the crash and exploit. Since Cowroot replaces the /usr/bin/passwd file, attackers could replace it with a malicious file, enable malware into the shellcode portion, and execute it. Flashpoint strongly recommends patching affected systems.


  • hxxp://arstechnica[.]com/security/2016/10/most-serious-linux-privilege-escalation-bug-ever-is-under-active-exploit
  • hxxps://access[.]redhat[.]com/security/vulnerabilities/2706661
  • hxxp://dirtycow[.]ninja
  • hxxps://github[.]com/dirtycow/dirtycow[.]github[.]io/wiki/PoCs
  • hxxps://gist[.]github[.]com/rverton/e9d4ff65d703a9084e85fa9df083c679
  • hxxps://gist[.]github[.]com/scumjr/17d91f20f73157c722ba2aea702985d2
  • hxxps://bugzilla[.]redhat[.]com/show_bug[.]cgi?id=1384344#c13

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