Flashpoint’s Use Case-Driven Approach to Intelligence Fuels 2019 Company Growth and Market Evolution
By Josh Lefkowitz
The threat intelligence market has significantly evolved since we started Flashpoint in 2010. At that time, our founding team focused on applying what we had learned from our work supporting the public sector.
Initially, we primarily provided intelligence gleaned from scouring the deep and dark web for malicious activity to cyber threat intelligence (CTI) teams, many in the financial services industry. It didn’t take long for us to start expanding to CTI teams in other verticals—which is now at a count of 22—and also realize that we had an opportunity to do much more for organizations than supporting only the cyber security teams.
Building on that foundation and seeing the relevance of our work to other teams, we endeavored to make our vision of Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) a reality. BRI is unique in our industry in that it provides intelligence and data to not only CTI teams but also to diverse teams across the organization.
Fast-forward a few years, and an ever-growing number of customers are requiring support across diverse teams and use cases — in addition to CTI, Flashpoint now supports fraud, insider threat, corporate & physical security, third-party risk, and M&A teams with intelligence they can automate and easily consume to mitigate business risk.
The market is following this mantra, further evidenced by recent research from Gartner that advises customers to look at use cases before looking at technology in order to best mitigate risk. In my opinion, the days of pushing only automated feeds or indicators without context to a customer are limited. The industry needs fewer false positives and more focused use cases.
Indeed, this observation of use case-driven intelligence is largely what drove both Flashpoint’s record-breaking first quarter of 2019, as well as the innovation and value we delivered to customers.
Delivering BRI Worldwide
I am extremely proud of our sales organization as it once again exceeded its quarterly bookings target, resulting in the largest Q1 in company history! It was inspiring to see so many satisfied customers renew their business with us in 2019, as well as to meet so many new customers who also believe in our vision of BRI and how it can help their organizations.
Our continued global growth was once again supported by our channel partners, a phenomenal network of resellers, distributors, solution providers and systems integrators worldwide. I’d like to especially welcome our newest partners, SPECTRAMI in EMEA and emt Distribution in Asia Pacific, and acknowledge the robust go-to-market they have already built with our team.
Delivering More Value to Customers
Our product and engineering teams raced into Q1 with exceptional energy, releasing a bevy of new features to our platform delivering substantial customer value. A highly improved API that now includes our high value technical indicators in addition to our Risk Intelligence Observables (RIOs), forums, finished intelligence, and other data, enables customers to develop more easily on our platform and better leverage our data in integrations. All these enhancements complement our more refined use case-driven intelligence packages, which are designed to maximize the value organizations get from our intelligence and data.
Customers agree with the results of our innovation thus far:
“Flashpoint stands alone when it comes to the diversity of its offerings, and the way that it can support different types of organizations, industries, and teams, in assessing and addressing their intelligence requirements,” said DJ Goldsworthy, Director of Security Operations and Threat Management at Aflac.
“Organizations and teams across every industry are having to assess and address a larger number of potential threats than ever before,” said Michael Antico, Chief Information Security Officer of a biometric company. “It is incredibly important to use a wide variety of unique data sources when evaluating these threats, but the true benefit of having a partner like Flashpoint is its ability to help us understand how we can immediately action them.”
While customer satisfaction is the most important measure of our business, we are also honored to have been named as a finalist for “Best Threat Intelligence Technology” in this year’s SC Awards US, which occurred last month, as well as in SC Awards Europe, which take place in London in June.
Delivering Groundbreaking Research and Analysis
Our intelligence analyst teams continued to unearth and share critical insights that earned well-deserved recognition from our customers and the industry in Q1. Most notably our Director of Research, Allison Nixon, received the “Most Important Researchers in the Last 30 Years Award” in the SC Media 30th Anniversary Awards presented at RSA Conference. Allison and her team’s initial work tracking and attributing the Mirai botnet also earned Flashpoint the “Most Important Cybersecurity Discoveries by a Company Research Team” award from the same program.
Also during RSAC, our Director of Intelligence, Christopher “Tophs” Elisan, and our Director of Americas Research & Analysis, Ian Gray, presented new research during the conference’s emerging threats track. Tophs dug into GandCrab as part of “Exploit Kits, Malware ROI and the Shift in Attack Vectors,” presented with Lior Ben-Porat and Daniel Frank, security researchers at Microsoft and F5 Networks, respectively. Ian presented with Carles Lopez-Penalver of Chainalysis on “Bitcoin Por Favor: Cybercriminal Usage of Cryptocurrency in Latin America.”
Noteworthy contributions also came from principal researchers Joshua Platt and Jason Reaves. Their reporting on DMSniff, a previously unseen point-of-sale malware, as well as on a new attack panel and malware samples linked to notorious cybercrime gang FIN7, was not only hailed for its utility across the industry—it was also featured in numerous top-tier publications ranging from ZDNet, to Politico, to Forbes.
Other research and analysis highlights from Q1 include:
• Senior analyst Cheng Lu’s overview of threat-actor chatter surrounding the recent WinRAR vulnerability and the implications for CVE prioritization;
• Director of Americas research & analysis Ian Gray’s reporting on the use of encrypted messaging applications among cybercriminals in Latin America;
• Senior analyst Aaron Shraberg’s examination of how geopolitical issues and economic tensions shape cyber threat activity in Asia Pacific;
• Director of research Allison Nixon’s observations of the DDoS-for-hire landscape;
• Principal advisor Eric Lackey’s reporting on the rise of insider threat as a vector for economic espionage.
It has been a tremendous start to 2019 for Flashpoint. I’m extremely proud of the impact our team has been able to make on the industry in the myriad ways we support our customers’ needs. In both our partners and our customers, we find passionate individuals who continue to share in our mission of providing and applying BRI across an organization to combat threats and adversaries. As the market continues its evolution of recognizing how intelligence can benefit teams across organizations, Flashpoint intends to be at the forefront of helping our customers take advantage of the best intelligence and data every step of the way.
Josh Lefkowitz is the Chief Executive Officer of Flashpoint, where he executes the company’s strategic vision to empower organizations with Business Risk Intelligence (BRI) derived from the Deep & Dark Web. 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.