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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 leads the company’s client engagement and development team, which includes customer success, business development, strategic integrations and the 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.
Rob Reznick
VP of 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.
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, Client Engagement & Development
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
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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Misinformation and Disinformation: Impact on Emergency Management and Response

Blog
June 25, 2018

The notion of “fake news,” the perceived practice of mainstream media being manipulated to spread deliberate misinformation, has created a mistrust of traditional sources of news and information. This trend has elevated social media to a dominant means through which information is disseminated and consumed. Inevitably, however, the peer-to-peer spread of false information also suffers from the same type of manipulation.

Flashpoint analysts have observed the planning and spreading of disinformation campaigns, as well as the circulation of misinformation, immediately following most mass-casualty events occurring during the past year. This can hinder emergency response during physical security incidents, for example, forcing governments and first-responders to address their need to evaluate the credibility of information sources.

Misinformation vs. Disinformation

False information shared among the masses can be classified into two categories: (1) misinformation, which is unintentionally false, and (2) disinformation, which is deliberately false. Misinformation and disinformation have been spread since the earliest days of society, but social media and other means of real-time information sharing have made them more pervasive and allowed them to circulate faster and with greater ease.

The impact of the spread of false information on public safety is magnified during high-profile incidents such as mass-shootings at schools or places of business. Whether it is spread intentionally or unintentionally, false information can misguide law enforcement officials, first responders, and others responsible for bringing emergency response plans to action. This may lead to their inability to react appropriately and deploy resources effectively to address the situation at hand. Emergency management and response teams often rely on publicly available information as a trigger to initiate emergency action plans (EAPs). As such, responding to false information may lead to an overreaction by security personnel, degradation of the EAP, and unnecessary use or misappropriation of resources.

While social media can be a valuable tool during crises, it can also enable misinformation and disinformation to spread rapidly, initiating a feedback loop of false reporting. Moreover, the juxtaposition of legitimate and false information on social media can make it difficult for undiscerning eyes to distinguish one from the other. The following examples highlight recent incidents in which misinformation and disinformation complicated response measures and follow-up investigations:

YouTube campus shooting

On April 3 at approximately 12:45 p.m. PT, a then-unidentified individual began firing a gun on YouTube’s corporate campus in San Bruno, Calif. Within minutes, YouTube employees took to Twitter to share firsthand information about the incident and confirm they were safe. However, disinformation pertaining to the shooter’s identity and the number of casualties spread just as rapidly. In one example, about an hour after the incident, a hoaxster hacked into the verified Twitter account of one YouTube employees who live-tweeted details about the shooting as it unfolded and posted a false claim that the compromised user’s friend had gone missing.

As more false information began to spread, the more muddled the actual details surrounding the incident became. This led to some misinformation being reported by mainstream news sources as legitimate, putting those in need of information up to the enormous task of parsing through reports to support the response and investigation.

Approximately nine hours after the first reports, authorities correctly identified the suspected shooter. Prior to these reports, however, hoaxsters began posting doctored images of Sam Hyde, a comedian and internet prankster, falsely claiming he was linked to the shooting. As part of an ongoing hoax by members of various online communities, Hyde has been inaccurately reported as the perpetrator of at least 13 mass-casualty incidents globally since 2015. Flashpoint analysts continue to observe this type of disinformation in most large-scale shooting incidents. Hoaxsters also posted images of seemingly innocent individuals, alleging them to be the shooter, potentially putting their reputation and safety at risk in light of false accusations.

Parkland School Shooting

On Feb. 24, a then-unidentified shooter began firing a AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle at students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. As with the YouTube campus shooting, misinformation and disinformation began spreading on social media almost immediately after initial reports of the incident. Analysts first observed disinformation plots on 4chan and 8chan, many of which called for supporters to repost false or misleading information regarding the shooter and the victims. As with many other mass casualty incidents, Sam Hyde was yet again falsely identified as the shooter.

In addition to the intentional disinformation campaigns, several research organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), spread misinformation, stating that the suspected shooter was a member of the Florida-based white supremacist group Republic of Florida. This assertion was based on false information shared by the group’s self-professed leader and disclosed during a telephone interview with the ADL. The ADL and its leader recanted their stories the following day.

Social Media in Times of Crisis

Social media can have useful applications during emergencies. For example, Facebook prompts users in the proximity of a disaster to confirm if they are unharmed to put friends and family members at ease. The ability to communicate via social media using a Wi-Fi connection in a scenario where phone service is disrupted is also valuable; In 2013, FEMA reported that more than 20 million tweets were posted by individuals who had lost phone service during Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. During any crises, live tweets from individuals present at the scene can also provide firsthand information about an incident as it unfolds.

Assessment

Flashpoint analysts assess with high confidence that misinformation and disinformation will likely continue to hinder emergency response efforts during physical security incidents. Disinformation campaigns do not appear to be limited to nation-state operations; recent incidents highlight the capability of political and social groups to perform information operations during these incidents. Flashpoint recommends incorporating information analysis methodologies into physical incident response operations for evaluating source credibility and determining information reliability.

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Rob Cook

Analyst

Rob is a dynamic and well-rounded All-Source Intelligence and Physical Security Analyst with 20 years of multi-discipline intelligence experience. His background includes managing and developing personnel security, physical security (certified DoD Physical Security Inspector), and operations security programs for the Department of Defense. Rob’s positions have entailed tactical-level intelligence collection and reporting, providing pattern-of-life analysis and biometric tracking of high-level personalities, as well as strategic-level positions requiring POTUS level assessments on foreign military operations and counterinsurgencies. His work in the private sector focuses on cyber threat actors, such as hacktivist and patriotic hacking collectives. Rob has held Vice President positions within two large financial institutions, where he served as a Senior Analyst on their respective cyber threat intelligence teams.

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