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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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Linguistic Analysis of WannaCry Ransomware Messages Suggests Chinese-Speaking Authors

Blog
May 25, 2017

Since the May 12, 2017, “WannaCry” ransomware worm attack, researchers have struggled with the question of attribution. As of this writing, a number of researchers have linked the activity to the suspected North Korean-affiliated “Lazarus Group” due to similarities in the code and the infrastructure. Flashpoint analysts conducted similar analyses, but also included a linguistic and cultural review of the 28 ransom notes found within the WannaCry malware to determine the native tongue of the author(s).

Analysis

Flashpoint analyzed each of the notes individually for content, accuracy, and style, and then compared results. Analysts also compared the ransom notes to previous ransom messages associated with other ransomware samples to determine if there was reuse. Unsurprisingly, there are many similarities, but an exact match was not found. The WannaCry samples analyzed by Flashpoint contained language configuration files with translated ransom messages for the following languages:

1. Bulgarian
2. Chinese (Simplified)
3. Chinese (Traditional)
4. Croatian
5. Czech
6. Danish
7. Dutch
8. English
9. Filipino
10. Finnish
11. French
12. German
13. Greek
14. Indonesian
15. Italian
16. Japanese
17. Korean
18. Latvian
19. Norwegian
20. Polish
21. Portuguese
22. Romanian
23. Russian
24. Slovak
25. Spanish
26. Swedish
27. Turkish
28. Vietnamese

Image 1: WannaCry ransom note in English.
Image 1: WannaCry ransom note in English.

Analysis revealed that nearly all of the ransom notes were translated using Google Translate and that only three, the English version and the Chinese versions (Simplified and Traditional), are likely to have been written by a human instead of machine translated. Though the English note appears to be written by someone with a strong command of English, a glaring grammatical error in the note suggest the speaker is non-native or perhaps poorly educated.

Flashpoint found that the English note was used as the source text for machine translation into the other languages. Comparisons between the Google translated versions of the English ransomware note to the corresponding WannaCry ransom note yielded nearly identical results, producing a 96% or above match.

Image 2: Percent identical by word count between Google translate and WannaCry note versions.
Image 2: Percent identical by word count between Google translate and WannaCry note versions.

Chinese Ransomware Notes

The two Chinese ransom notes differ substantially from other notes in content, format, and tone. Google Translate fails in both Chinese-English and English-Chinese tests, producing inaccurate results that suggests the Chinese text was likely not have been similarly generated by the English text.

A number of unique characteristics in the note indicate it was written by a fluent Chinese speaker. A typo in the note, “帮组” (bang zu) instead of “帮助” (bang zhu) meaning “help,” strongly indicates the note was written using a Chinese-language input system rather than being translated from a different version. More generally, the note makes use of proper grammar, punctuation, syntax, and character choice, indicating the writer was likely native or at least fluent. There is, however, at least one minor grammatical error which may be explained by autocomplete, or a copy-editing error.

The text uses certain terms that further narrow down a geographic location. One term, “礼拜” for “week,” is more common in South China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore; although it is occasionally used in other regions of the country. The other “杀毒软件” for “anti-virus” is more common in the Chinese mainland.

Perhaps most compelling, the Chinese note contains substantial content not present in any other version of the note, is lengthier, and differs slightly in format.

Image 3: The Simplified Chinese ransom note with key areas highlighted.
Image 3: The Simplified Chinese ransom note with key areas highlighted.

Conclusions

Flashpoint assesses with high confidence that the author(s) of WannaCry’s ransomware notes are fluent in Chinese, as the language used is consistent with that of Southern China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Singapore. Flashpoint also assesses with high confidence that the author(s) are familiar with the English language, though not native. This alone is not enough to determine the nationality of the author(s).

Image 4: Assessed genesis of the WannaCry ransom notes.
Image 4: Assessed genesis of the WannaCry ransom notes.

Flashpoint assesses with moderate confidence that the Chinese ransom note served as the original source for the English version, which then generated machine translated versions of the other notes. The Chinese version contains content not in any of the others, though no other notes contain content not in the Chinese. The relative familiarity found in the Chinese text compared to the others suggests the authors were fluent in the language—perhaps comfortable enough to use the language to write the initial note.

Given these facts, it is possible that Chinese is the author(s)’ native tongue, though other languages cannot be ruled out. It is also possible that the malware author(s)’ intentionally used a machine translation of their native tongue to mask their identity. It is worth noting that characteristics marking the Chinese note as authentic are subtle. It is thus possible, though unlikely, that they were intentionally included to mislead.

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