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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.
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Guide to Cyber Threat Intelligence: Elements of an Effective Threat Intel and Cyber Risk Remediation Program

Blog
February 22, 2022

Threat intelligence serves as your organization’s first line of defense against threat actors and security risks that may be targeting your data, infrastructure, assets, personnel, and stakeholders. Understanding the importance of this information—and working to improve the quality of your threat intel and risk remediation program—is crucial to maximizing your organization’s defense capabilities and security posture. 

In this article, we:

  • Define various types of threat intelligence;
  • Discuss the most important threat intelligence concepts and the vital roles they play in your organization’s cyber security programs;
  • Outline the steps to creating a high-quality threat intelligence process that brings quantifiable value to your organization and its security teams, from cyber threat intelligence (CTI) teams and DevSecOps.

What is threat intelligence?

Threat intelligence refers to the information, data, and context that’s used to detect, assess, prioritize, and counter cyber threats in order to prevent potential attacks against an organization. 

Aside from blocking imminent risks, threat intelligence is also helpful for companies to analyze in order to inform the decision making process on how to build long-term defense plans that more effectively mitigate the cyber risks they may face.

Why threat intelligence is so important

As threat actors become more advanced in their ability to leverage attacks against specific companies or industries, it’s crucial for organizations to advance their own threat intelligence capabilities accordingly, in order to successfully defend their assets and infrastructure. A thorough understanding of your own threat landscape is required to know which tools and technology are needed to properly identify, prioritize, and combat risks. 

A large part of threat intelligence is knowing where to look for information. This has become more challenging as the channels through which threat actors operate diversify, although a large number of illicit communities use the deep and dark web to act—which means your security teams must be familiar with this obscure and often misunderstood part of the online world. 

Knowing how your organization may be targeted—via what we call “risk apertures”— is also necessary to proactively avert attacks. An array of approaches can be taken by threat actors depending on what they’re trying to achieve—from brute forcing and credential stuffing to exploiting vulnerabilities and ransomware—and it’s imperative that your security teams are prepared. 

Five stages of the threat intelligence lifecycle

While threat intelligence encompasses the entire process of dealing with threats, from data collection to information dissemination, it can be broken into five stages that define each step in the journey.

The five stages of the threat intelligence lifecycle, outlined below. (Image: Flashpoint)
  1. Planning and direction: Set the scope and objectives for core intel roles and processes.
  2. Collection: Deploy data gathering and processing techniques and sources. 
  3. Analysis: Translate raw intel into meaningful and taxonomized actors, events, and attributes.
  4. Production: Assess intel significance and severity based on business and environmental context.
  5. Dissemination and feedback: Report on finished intel, considering urgency and confidentiality.

Applications of the threat intelligence lifecycle 

The stages of the threat intelligence lifecycle are a vital part of every organization’s threat intelligence process in order to get the most out of security efforts. Understanding the types of threats you’re dealing with allows you to more specifically optimize this journey to the risks your organization is facing.

While the general process is the same, applying it to insider threats versus physical security threats may look different, since these each require different considerations. A tailored lifecycle is required to properly assess the risks an organization is facing and effectively preempt them.

The three types of threat intelligence 

There are three types of threat intelligence intelligence, each of which serve a different function in combating emerging threats and cyber attacks. Strategic, operational, and tactical threat intelligence all play complementary roles in building a comprehensive defense plan that successfully manages the risks your organization faces. 

1) Strategic threat intelligence

Strategic intelligence provides a high-level look at the threat landscape, giving visibility into how it evolves over time. Historical trends and contextual data are both very important to strategic intelligence, since attributes and information connected to past threats often have bearing on potential future attacks. 

Because of its broader nature, strategic threat intelligence is normally used by C-suite leaders or other high-level parties who benefit most from a summary of patterns in their threat landscape. There is no need to have a strong technical background to understand strategic intelligence, and its zoomed-out view makes it good for long term use.

2) Operational threat intelligence

More actionable in nature, operational intelligence focuses on specific attacks that an organization is at risk for in real time. It clarifies how your security team should understand a breach or attack and the steps that would be most effective in countering it. Operational threat intelligence offers more insights on a threat actor’s motivations, capabilities, and timing, and applies your strategic intelligence to a real-life situation.

Operational threat intelligence requires a strong technical background, and is most often used by security teams and their adjacent departments. Analysts, incident responders, and other on-the-ground personnel benefit greatly from high-quality operational intelligence as a way to contextualize and prioritize risks and understand their strategic implications.

3) Tactical threat intelligence

Tactical intelligence concerns itself with information about the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and Indicators of Compromise (IOCs), that are needed to build a defense plan. 

The most basic level of threat intelligence, tactical threat intel is built on the documentation of past and current threats and attacks, which are then turned into IOCs that serve as guides by which intelligence analysts judge future or ongoing incidents. Tactical threat intelligence contextualizes isolated events to help security teams decide how urgent a threat truly is—and prioritize it. 

Technical teams are most often the ones dealing with tactical intelligence. By nature, this type of intelligence expires quickly because it changes as circumstances change, and relates differently to each threat.

Created by David Bianco, a cybersecurity and threat hunting expert, in 2014, the Threat Pyramid of Pain provides a visual of how effectively attacks can be mitigated based on which IOCs an organization is able to target. While blocking a threat actor from an IP address is likely not enough to deter them, targeting their TTPs would be detrimental to a threat actor’s ability to execute a successful cyber attack.

What is threat hunting?

While the gathering of information related to threats is a critical part of your threat intelligence process, it is entirely possible to miss the risks or threat actors that enter your network. To minimize potential fallout from this situation, it’s wise to include active threat hunting into your playbook.

A more proactive approach to data collection, threat hunting is an active search for threats or cyber criminals that have accessed your environment without being caught by passive defense systems. If left unchecked, these foreign parties can remain in your network undetected for months while collecting confidential information. 

Many organizations lack a plan of action to detect and remove intruders from their system. Threat hunting serves as a second line of defense against determined threat actors, and is required for a thorough security strategy.

Threat intelligence use cases

Enriching your organization’s security posture

The ways threat intelligence can benefit your team or organization depend on your role and objectives. Perhaps most importantly, a solid threat intelligence process allows you to enrich the security posture of your entire organization, all the way from policy development to incident response and remediation plans. The better your understanding of the threat landscape, the better prepared you can be to respond to the latest threats. To this end, including threat intelligence in the use of other tools augments the value they provide as well. 

Contextual insights and analysis

Threat intelligence also assists in the prioritization of threats, lending valuable insights into how a certain risk may play out for your organization. If an attack does happen, analysis of its status and impact is also enhanced using the intelligence your teams have on the who, what, and how of the situation. 

Proactive threat hunting

Finally, just as threat hunting is a required part of your threat intelligence, threat intelligence is required for threat hunting. Use threat hunting to expose previously unnoticed compromises and proactively stop attacks that target your data and infrastructure. 

What is a threat actor?

Broadly speaking, a threat actor is any party who participates in illegal activities in pursuit of some gain. Physical threat actors are those who use physical methods, such as a terrorist attack, while cyber threat actors operate online and execute cyber threats, like malware, ransomware, and DDoS attacks.

Where these threat actors operate depends on their tactics, group, motivation, and other factors. Many are tied to some larger illicit community, often based online, on the deep and dark web as well as the open web or on closed- or invite-only forums. For cyber threat actors, whatever data or information they access is often passed on via cybercrime communities, which can make breaches difficult to track. 

By understanding threat actors and their tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), organizations who leverage threat intelligence can make more informed decisions about how to proactively protect against their adversaries.

Motivations for cybercriminals

While ransomware groups are clear examples of threat actors with financial motives, it is often more complicated than that. Motivations can generally be split between financial and ideological, but the subcategories of these are nuanced.

Motivated by money

Financial threat actors are motivated by profit, one of the biggest drivers of cyber criminal activity. From organized ransomware attacks that may have a group behind them, to insider threats that are driven by a personal motive, attacks are often carried out with the intention to convert the stolen data into something of monetary value, most often cryptocurrency, as quickly as possible. Types of financial threat actors include: 

  • Ransomware actors: Working individually or as a group, ransomware actors carry out attacks that either encrypt data to force victims to pay for the decryption key, or threaten to release sensitive information if a sizable ransom is not paid. In 2020, the average ransom demand was $100,000, although asks could go into the tens of millions for larger attacks.
  • Insider threat actors: Making up approximately 30% of all data breaches, insider threats involve employees of a company or organization that leverage confidential information or network access to harm a business for personal gain or to act on a personal grievance. Negligent security behavior can also lead to unintentional breaches and count as insider threats, too. 

Related reading: The Flashpoint Guide to Fighting Credit and Payment Card Fraud

  • Organized cybercrime groups: In a sense the financial equivalent of state-sponsored APT groups (detailed below), organized cybercrime groups play a significant role in undertaking cybercriminal schemes, including theft, fraud, espionage, and extortion. Cybercriminal groups that handle money laundering or other parts of a cash-out scheme—but who are not directly involved in account compromise, malware infection, or other cybercriminal activities—are critical to functionality of the cybercrime ecosystem and are likely to take a percentage of the large sums that they process. 
  • Carders: Requiring relatively low technical knowledge, carders are involved in credit card theft and the subsequent fraudulent activities associated with stolen credit cards.
  • Scammers: Scammers are involved with various types of fraud, like commiting synthetic identity fraud to borrow lines of credit COVID-19-related scams where threat actors attempt to commit loan fraud.
  • Script kiddies: Also known as “skiddies”, script kiddies are low-level threat actors that are likely not capable of executing advanced attacks, but may use publicly available tools to engage in areas of cybercrime with a low barrier to entry.

Motivated by socio-political factors

Ideological threat actors are driven by political and social factors, and attacks are often carried out by a large group to highlight a major issue or to harm a conflicting group. These attacks are normally intended to create chaos and draw attention to the cyber criminals behind them or the issues they stand for, which is the opposite of financial attackers who want to carry out their attacks as quietly as possible. Types of ideological threat actors include:

  • APT groups: Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups are usually politically or economically motivated, and target state institutions, critical infrastructure, and large companies, often by initially using tactics like spear-phishing or social engineering. Once they have discreetly gained access into a system’s infrastructure, they normally remain there collecting confidential information and exfiltrating the stolen data.
  • Government / state-sponsored groups: Often a specific form of an APT group, government- or state-sponsored groups are threat actors supported by a nation state, either directly (e.g. units of an intelligence agency) or indirectly (e.g. a syndicate supported by the state through shell companies or similar entities). Their goals and tactics are normally similar to those of APT groups, and their government’s support enables them to use advanced capabilities and have access to the resources they need to achieve their aims.
  • Hacktivists: Hacktivists act to support their own political or social agenda, often aiming to cause reputational damage and draw attention to their attacks in order to bring awareness to their cause.
  • FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt): FUD-motivated threat actors attack by distributing false or misleading information, often seeking to influence public perception of their capabilities or goals in order to confuse law enforcement or other adversaries.

What does a cyber threat intel analyst do?

Using the data compiled during the collections phase of the intelligence lifecycle, a cyber threat intel analyst is responsible for identifying and assessing risk and threats to inform security or business decisions. As a point person for many different teams relying on threat intelligence, this role must be able to distill and assess different types of information from a variety of sources, including those technical in nature, and communicate it to audiences of all levels and backgrounds. 

Related reading: Insider Threats and Trends—What the Data Tells Us

Threat intel analysts generally have experience with cybersecurity topics and computer networking, and may have worked as network engineers before beginning this position. Staying ahead of threat actors requires strong knowledge of and keeping up with the constantly evolving threat landscape, which means there is a correlation between the quality of your threat intelligence and how effective an analyst is.

Get Flashpoint on your team for threat intelligence 

Any organization’s security capabilities are only as good as its threat intelligence. Flashpoint’s suite of tools offer you a comprehensive overview of your threat landscape and the ability to proactively address risks and protect your critical data assets. To unlock the power of great threat intelligence, sign up for a demo or get started with a free trial. 

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