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
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
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.
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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OCR, Cybersecurity, and Threat Intelligence: Using Optical Character Recognition and Machine Learning to Identify Risk

November 9, 2021

Introduction and key takeaways

Optical character recognition (OCR) can immediately help security and fraud teams augment their data collections with timely, actionable intelligence. For example, OCR technology enables CTI and SOC teams to proactively identify when sensitive organizational or customer data—derived from images—is posted by threat actors in illicit communities and actively being leveraged across the deep and dark web.

In this article we: 

  • Define OCR—its history, development, and applications across the cybersecurity, corporate security, and physical security landscape;
  • Examine how OCR and machine learning can be leveraged as a time-saving organizational tool—especially for intelligence gathering and threat hunting teams;
  • Describe how threat actors leverage images as “proof,” enabling them to more effectively conduct business;
  • Outline use cases—plus the explicit ROI that OCR can generate for cyber and physical security teams in the financial services industry and other public and private sectors.

What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

Originally developed over 100 years ago as a way to analyze text to play as sounds for the visually impaired, and then commercialized by Ray Kurzweil and Xerox in the 1980s, OCR technology has come a long way. 

Today, OCR is primarily used across a variety of applications and industries to extract text, logos, and other identifiable objects from images. For security and fraud teams, OCR can help organizations identify potential cyber, corporate, and physical threats, and then take the necessary steps to mitigate them.

Why OCR is a vital tool for security and fraud teams (and the CISOs who lead them)

Machine learning and searchable OCR

The information that OCR extracts and classifies from images should be immediately searchable, eliminating systematic barriers that may exist between raw data and actionable intelligence. 

When paired with machine learning algorithms, OCR is an incredibly effective and efficient method of inspecting, identifying, and classifying images. Flashpoint’s OCR technology can even identify information from images displayed in any orientation (horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved)—or language.

Altogether, the most capable OCR enables security and fraud teams to quickly identify images of fraudulent activity within illicit communities and take meaningful programmatic steps that mitigate those risks.

Why images matter: Risk exposures and OCR

Threat actors are increasingly showcasing sensitive information on chat platforms, including compromised bank accounts, domains, usernames, passwords, networks, devices, phone numbers, stolen identities, exploit code, as well as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) access. 

Furthermore, threat actors may use images to boast about their recent activities, share sensitive or exploitative information, and even plan future attacks. 

As image-rich, mobile-first communication becomes a primary mode of communication in illicit communities, organizations across the public and private sectors require insight into how these threat actors gain access to—then leverage—sensitive information. 

While posting images may lend legitimacy to threat actors’ claims, it also provides valuable information for security teams to discover and take appropriate action.

Inside the minds of threat actors

Let’s pretend for a moment you’re in the market to purchase stolen credentials to a bank account. To accomplish this, you scan through multiple text-based posts on an illicit channel (chat server, e.g.); each poster claims to have access to various types of banking and investment account data. 

How do threat actors on the buy side verify that the sellers actually have access to financial accounts? On the other hand, how do these sellers provide proof to potential buyers that the stolen credentials are viable?

Finally, if you’re a member of a fraud team that’s diligently hunting for indicators of compromise (IOCs), how would you also determine which claims are credible (or false positives) and therefore require action. 

The answer? Images provide proof. 

Related reading: From Ransomware to DDoS: Guide to Cyber Threat Actors—How, Why, and Who They Choose to Attack

Use cases and OCR applications

Security teams can leverage OCR technology to discover and be alerted when activities are taking place that could pose a potential threat to their business and customers. Now, let’s take a look at a few real life use cases to better understand how this can occur.

OCR, fraud, and compromised credentials

Fraud teams at banks and other financial institutions have certainly had their hands full. The amount of threats and their level of sophistication has been steadily on the rise, with a 149% increase in digital fraud this year alone. Fraudulent purchases and compromised accounts cost banks billions annually, making fraud mitigation a primary goal.

This poses a huge challenge to fraud teams to not only know which illicit communities to monitor across the deep and dark web, but also to sift through the massive amounts of data in order to identify relevant threats to their business and customers, such as credit card fraud made possible by stolen credentials. OCR technology can be a game changer in helping to overcome this challenge. 

When pointed toward a robust dataset of illicit online communities, OCR capabilities allow fraud teams to search through not only text chatter, but also images posted by threat actors, such as a company logo on a customer statement that has fallen into the wrong hands.

Card fraud guide

OCR for internal and insider threats

It’s essential for CTI and SOC teams to gain a stereoscopic understanding of potential vulnerabilities, including risk apertures opened by internal actors. These data leaks can be caused by honest mistakes, such as inadvertently storing code in open repositories, or by insiders with malicious intent who seek to profit off of their access to sensitive information. 

OCR allows security teams to detect when this activity occurs. By searching images for company names/logos, a security analyst can identify images the insider has posted as proof of access, for example. This could be in the form of an employee badge, or possibly a screenshot of a system or application of interest. 

OCR for physical security teams

It isn’t only cyber and application security teams that can benefit from OCR search technology. While maybe not quite as apparent, physical security teams can enjoy the benefits of this capability as well. 

As in the insider threat example above, an employee offering a picture of his/her badge as proof of physical access can be caught with OCR. Additionally, bad actors might also post pictures of building entrances that might include the company’s name/logo. Keypads, scanners, and other physical security devices may have known exploits that could allow unauthorized access to company facilities. 

Using OCR search capabilities to search for your company’s physical security devices that are in use could help your security department discover and take action against these types of risks. 

Other important OCR applications

There are many other use cases OCR can help address for security and fraud teams, in addition to the few mentioned above.

Identity theft

OCR enables CTI and SOC teams to search posts containing pictures of ID documentation containing real or fraudulent personally identifiable information, including drivers licenses, social security cards, and passports.

Compromised accounts

OCR enables the discovery of access to stolen accounts—bank, investment, credit card, insurance, social media, and other spaces where sensitive organizational and customer data can be exposed.

Mail fraud

OCR enables security teams to find evidence of counterfeit checks, including cashiers’ checks issued directly by banks.

Extremist images (physical security)

OCR technology enables organizations to explore images that might reveal the physical location of businesses, employees, and customers—all of which could be used to cause harm or disruption, including reputational damage, or gain unauthorized access to information systems. 

Illicit trade of pharmaceuticals

OCR can provide actionable intelligence that can help security teams mitigate fraud. This includes the falsification of prescription and other medical documentation, enabling threat actors to gain unauthorized access to in-demand medications.

Crypto wallets

OCR can identify if the address and balance of crypto wallets have been exposed online.

The ROI of OCR: Public and private sector wins

Flashpoint customers have found immense value leveraging our OCR capabilities to identify potential risks to their organizations.

  • A financial services customer identified $10.1M in at-risk account balances and secured the accounts within six days of Flashpoint’s launch of OCR capabilities.
  • A financial services customer identified an average of 125 account screenshots with $6M at risk on a monthly basis.
  • Multiple gaming industry customers have found OCR searches helpful to identify new types of “cheats” targeting their platforms.
  • A Flashpoint customer identified an image within Flashpoint’s collections showcasing a tutorial targeting a state’s unemployment insurance site. Flashpoint’s OCR capability identified the image as the step-by-step example for how to claim unemployment, which mentioned the customer’s corporate name as the employer in one of the steps.

See Flashpoint’s OCR Solution in Action 

Organizations across a variety of sectors, from financial institutions to governments and law enforcement, leverage Flashpoint’s OCR technology to proactively identify threats, prevent fraud, and take action to combat exposure to risk. To see our OCR technology in action and learn how it can help your organization, request a demo or sign up for a free 90-day trial today.

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