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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.

Physical Security Threat Assessment: Holiday Edition

2021 Intelligence Wrap
November 23, 2021

This article is part of Flashpoint’s 2021 Intel Wrap-Up series. To read our report on holiday retail fraud, including an outline about how retailers can mitigate these threats, click here.

Key takeaways

  • Anti-Mask tensions: Based on recent altercations between anti-mask protesters and frontline employees in the retail, hospitality, and public transportation sectors, analysts assess with high confidence that the frequency of these assaults will likely continue or increase during the holiday season.
  • Merchandise shortages: The global supply chain is struggling to recover after COVID shutdowns, which has resulted in retailers across the country experiencing merchandise shortages throughout the holiday season. This will likely lead to an increase in confrontations with retail staff or physical altercations between customers.
  • Vulnerability of public holiday gatherings: Large holiday events and public gatherings may become a target of opportunity due to the concentration of crowds at celebrations, the perceived vulnerability of those partaking in festivities, and the inherent significance of holidays. While the November 21, 2021 vehicular ramming that occurred at a Wisconsin Christmas parade was reportedly the result of a getaway and not an act of terror, it highlights the vulnerability of public holiday events.
  • Jihadist threat endures: The jihadist threat to holiday celebrations, locations, and events remains elevated. Moreover, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the civil and political unrest around the world has further galvanized terrorist groups and presented them and prospective attackers with new opportunities to incite and carry out attacks. As such, vigilance in public spaces, including at holiday events and markets, should remain high. 
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Potential physical threats: Overview

Twenty months after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, frustration with public health measures, widespread online misinformation, and growing political polarization—combined with a pandemic-driven economic downturn and supply shortages—continues to heighten social tension and potentially induce public unrest. 

Flashpoint analysts assess with high confidence that these social, political, and economic factors will likely contribute to a tempestuous physical threat environment during the 2021 holiday season. 

Furthermore, given the symbolism of the holidays and the opportunities afforded to illicit actors by concentrated crowds in a relaxed posture, Flashpoint analysts assess with moderate confidence that the jihadist threat this holiday season will remain elevated.

Vulnerability of public gatherings

Large holiday events and public gatherings—like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and US and European Christmas markets—may become a target of opportunity; such events allow threat actors to target large groups of concentrated crowds who have minimal ability to escape. 

There are both tactical and symbolic considerations for threat actors’ interest in targeting the holidays: the concentration of crowds at celebrations; the perceived vulnerability of those partaking in festivities; and the inherent significance of holidays—both religious and cultural. ​​

The intrinsic importance of holidays also offers a symbolic value for striking such targets and increased exposure for “successful” attacks. 

Anti-mask protestors

Individuals expressing opposition to mask wearing have staged mass protests, targeted businesses mandating masks, and assaulted employees enforcing mask policies. Physical threats posed by anti-mask protesters include disruption of business operations, vandalism, and assault. In some incidents, anti-mask protesters have used lethal force against individuals who asked them to wear masks.

Mass protests in the U.S.

Since the pandemic began, individuals who oppose COVID-19 health measures—including the use of face masks—have organized and attended protests to voice their grievances. Since April 2021, groups of individuals who oppose these measures have promoted “worldwide freedom rallies” to protest lockdown policies, face mask mandates, and vaccine campaigns. 

On at least one occasion, analysts identified the leader of a US anti-government militia, Chris Hill of the Georgia-based “Three Percenters,” promoting these events. 

Mass protests: International

Demonstrations against face masks and other COVID-19 health measures have also taken place outside the United States. Since July 2021, protesters have staged weekly protests across France to voice their opposition to lockdowns, masks, and vaccines. In August, the French Interior Ministry estimated that between 160,000 and 200,000 individuals attended each weekend of protests held around the country that month.

Similar protests in the summer and fall of 2021 attracted significant crowds in other countries, including Italy, Australia, and New Zealand. Most recently, over the past week, anti-lockdown protests erupted across Europe, some even turning violent. Groups of protestors in the Netherlands, for instance, reportedly threw large projectiles at law enforcement and first responders, set fires, and battered drivers. As numbers across Europe rise and governments respond with new measures to combat the virus, tens of thousands have taken to the streets in these events. 

Flashpoint analysts assess with moderate-to-high confidence that these events will likely continue over the winter months, and will likely incur traffic disruption, vandalism against public and private property, and confrontations between protesters, counterprotesters, and law enforcement officers.  

Maskless walk-ins

Some individuals who oppose face masks have willfully refused to comply with public and private mask policies. In an apparent attempt to create a commotion and draw attention to their cause, these individuals have often intentionally confronted employees enforcing the policies, recorded their tense interactions, and shared the videos online. 

While some of these incidents appear to be unplanned, others have been planned and promoted online. On February 13, 2021, an online network of California-based anti-mask protesters organized a maskless walk-in at a Santa Cruz, Calif. grocery store that had a mask policy. Naming their disruption “Operation Cash Drop,” the protesters uploaded videos of the incident to video-sharing sites and created a website with a manual on how to conduct similar activities.

In April 2021, a network of anti-mask protesters operating on Telegram and Instagram began promoting maskless walk-ins targeting US-based stores with mask policies. On the group’s Telegram channel, members share videos of incidents in which they enter businesses without wearing masks and proceed to harass and confront masked employees and customers; they also hawk their own merchandise.

Based on anti-mask groups’ continuous use of Telegram and other online platforms to plan and promote maskless walk-in protests, Flashpoint analysts assess with moderate to high confidence that individuals associated with these groups are likely to stage protests during the holiday shopping season to attract attention to their cause. 

Physical violence in the U.S.

On occasion, hostile interactions between anti-mask individuals and employees enforcing mask policies have escalated into physical assault and even homicide. None of these incidents appears to be linked to organized anti-mask groups. In May 2020, in one of the earliest reported such incidents in the United States, four people in the same family were charged for fatally shooting a grocery store security guard who asked one of them to wear a mask. 

Since then, news outlets and law enforcement authorities have reported multiple violent cases involving mask disputes across the country, including the January 2021 killing of a Baltimore bus driver by a maskless passenger and the February 2021 killing of a police officer by a maskless attendee of a New Orleans high school basketball game.

Physical violence: International

Similar outbursts of violence have also occurred outside the United States. In March 2021 in Brazil, a man fatally shot a business owner who had asked him to wear a mask. 

In September 2021 in Germany, a man shot and killed a gas station cashier who refused to serve him for not wearing a mask.

In October 2021, a subway passenger in Spain punched another passenger who asked him to wear a mask; the person who was attacked later lost sight in one of his eyes.

Flashpoint analysts assess with moderate-to-high confidence that built-up frustration over mask policies, poor economic prospects, and widespread product shortages will likely lead to increased tension during the holiday shopping season—potentially leading to violent altercations between shoppers and employees.

Merchandise shortages, record out-of-stocks

As the global supply chain is still struggling to recover after COVID-19 shutdowns, retailers across the country are very likely to experience merchandise shortages throughout the holiday season. Foot traffic in stores is expected to increase as COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted. The heightened tension surrounding holiday shopping combined with customers’ inability to obtain the items they seek will likely lead to an increase in confrontations with retail staff or physical altercations between customers attempting to purchase the same item. 

According to Adobe Analytics, apparel is anticipated to have the highest out-of-stock margins, followed by sporting goods and electronics. Merchandise shortages are very likely to increase shipping times; it is possible that a large number of packages will not reach their destination in time for the intended holiday. This will likely result in customers harassing employees of post offices and delivery services out of frustration over late packages. 

Black Friday and “doorbusters”

Large and unruly crowds are an inherent component of Black Friday “doorbuster” sales. As of this writing, Black Friday shopping events since 2006 have led to approximately 14 deaths and 117 injuries.

To ensure the safety of employees and customers, retail establishments are advised to design, review, and practice store opening procedures before the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation is projecting holiday retail sales for 2021 to set an all-time high as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Implementing the following security measures may increase the safety of retail employees and customers.

  • Entry and Exit Control: Employees are frequently injured during the initial door opening on Black Friday due to stampeding customers. Facilities should ensure that employees can open the doors remotely or from a safe or elevated position. Stores should ensure that customers can only enter through designated entry points; exit, employee, and delivery doors should be secured to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Strategic Merchandise Placement: Strategic placement of merchandise—specifically Black Friday deals—may reduce large pile-ups of customers at entrances, increase traffic flow, and increase visibility on pilferable items. Retailers should consider spreading the sales items throughout the store and keeping these items clear of checkout counters to reduce customer density in high-traffic areas.

Recently, in an attempt to mitigate the chaotic rush of people on Black Friday, retail establishments began opening their doors in the evening on Thanksgiving Day, which is becoming known as “Brown Thursday.”

In addition to taking advantage of the extended shopping hours around Black Friday, many shoppers elect to forego brick-and-mortar establishments and conduct their holiday shopping online the Monday after Thanksgiving—Cyber Monday. Shopping online this holiday season will present its own complications—shipping delays are highly likely due to the above-noted merchandise shortages. 

Blackout Black Friday

This year, the movement “Blackout Black Friday,” which has gained traction across various digital platforms, is calling for a boycott of Black Friday on November 26, 2021. Followers of the movement are advocating for retail workers to stay home and for patrons to avoid shopping—both in-store and online—and dining out. 

The ensuing possibility of staff shortages at retail establishments on Black Friday may combine with the likely frustrations surrounding merchandise shortages to cause increased confrontations between customers and retail staff.

Terrorism

On November 11, 2021, the US Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin extending its national terror warning, in part citing the potential threats from terrorist groups including ISIS and al-Qaeda. 

The warning came less than two weeks after police in northern Virginia announced that they were increasing security around malls after what was described as a credible ISIS threat that specific weekend. Outside the United States, at least five attacks (and attempted attacks) in Europe were linked to individuals with potential jihadist motives over the last month. There is no evidence to suggest that these incidents were related. 

These threats are likely to increase as the holiday period nears; historically, there is an increase in jihadist propaganda and physical attacks and attempts around this time. Flashpoint analysts continue to observe online attempts by both ISIS and al-Qaeda (and supporting media entities) to inspire their supporters to commit attacks, especially in the West. Notably, several of these attempts focus on the opportunities presented by ongoing worldwide protests and holiday crowds.

Annual jihadist threat

Jihadist threats to holiday celebrations, locations, and events are commonplace. Though such threats largely consist of inflammatory rhetoric aimed at inciting supporters and antagonizing enemies—leveraging the holidays to garner more attention—there is precedent of jihadists striking holiday targets. These incidents include the December 12, 2018, shooting at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, and the December 19, 2016, attack in Berlin, Germany, in which an ISIS supporter drove a truck into crowds at a Christmas market. Flashpoint analysts assess with high confidence jihadists are likely to issue more holiday-themed threats as the upcoming holidays near.

Flashpoint Intelligence Brief

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