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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
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 sales and client engagement & development teams, which also includes customer success, solution architecture, 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.
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 and Solution 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
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.
Justin Rogers
VP Revenue Operations
Justin Rogers leads the Revenue Operations team at Flashpoint, aligning marketing, sales, partnerships, and customer success 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.
Glenn Lemons
Executive Director of Customer Success
Glenn Lemons is a Executive Director of Customer Success 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.
Peter George
Peter George has an established track record of building companies that deliver sustained growth and profits and in identifying critical worldwide partnership opportunities that strategically expand market share. Prior to becoming President and CEO of Fidelis Security Systems in 2008, Mr. George spent the last seven years as President and CEO of Crossbeam Systems, the market leader in the high-end segment of the Unified Threat Management market, where he took the company from being a pre-revenue start-up to over $50 million in revenue. Previously, he was President of Nortel Networks Enterprise Business in Europe, Middle-East, and Africa, responsible for managing more than 5,000 employees and $2 billion in revenue. Mr. George came to Nortel via their 1998 acquisition of Bay Networks where he was serving as vice president of European operations. During his tenure at Wellfleet and Bay, he played key sales executive roles in New England and in Europe. Prior to joining Wellfleet, Mr. George served as the Northeast regional manager and GM of Canada at 3Com Corporation, and also held senior management positions at Ungerman Bass. He received his BA from the College of the Holy Cross, and has done graduate studies at Harvard and Oxford University.
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.
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How Ransomware has become an ‘Ethical’ Dilemma in the Eastern European Underground

Blog
September 20, 2017

It’s no secret that the Deep & Dark Web (DDW) is home to illicit marketplaces and forums, as well as an array of cybercriminal communications. Less obvious, however, are the nuances of these communications, the unspoken code of conduct that exists in cybercriminal communities, and the “ethical” dilemma that certain types of attacks can cause.

For example, let’s discuss ransomware.

While monitoring DDW communities in Eastern Europe from early 2014 to early 2016, Flashpoint researchers discovered the forewarnings of a shift in attitude toward ransomware.

Prior to 2016, administrators of the Russian underground stated that ransomware should not be practiced for two reasons:

• It was a waste of botnet installs and exploit kits;
• It was “intellectual death” and therefore a low-end maneuver.

These administrators firmly believed that ransomware attracts too much attention, may impede other types of cybercrime, could be too-easily turned toward Russian targets, and an increase in its use may cause the Russian government to take a harsher stance towards DDW communities.

It’s very important to note that underground administrators are incredibly powerful in the DDW. Regardless of whether administrators are revered or reviled, the community respects their decisions. Those who don’t comply with such decisions risk being exiled from the forums or even doxed.

The Ethical Dilemma
Indeed, on Feb. 5, 2016, an ethical dilemma arose following a ransomware incident at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. The small hospital was demanded to pay 40 bitcoin (roughly $17,000 at the time) or risk a shutdown of its lifesaving equipment. While healthcare companies had been hit with cyberattacks before, the attacks had never before gone as far as to threaten human life. While Hollywood Presbyterian’s management claimed that the hospital’s infrastructure was never truly at risk, they chose to avert the perceived risk and pay the ransom.

Although the unspoken code of conduct amongst Eastern European cybercriminals strictly prohibits any malicious activity directed against citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the targeting and exploitation of Westerners — in particular United States citizens – is highly encouraged. Nevertheless, news of the attack against Hollywood Presbyterian was coldly received by Eastern European cybercriminals, many of whom regarded the incident as reckless and unacceptable. While some in the community supported the attack, the majority condemned the unknown assailants, which created an ethical divide in the underground.

One highly reputable member of a Russian top-tier cybercrime forum expressed his frustration with ransomware, writing “from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely wish that the mothers of all ransomware distributors end up in the hospital, and that the computer responsible for the resuscitation machine gets infected with [the ransomware]…”

In response, a prominent ransomware operator countered that view: “[the attackers] scored. It means everything was done properly.” Rather than adhering to the ethical code imposed by administrators, he proposed that targeting places that were guaranteed to pay was not wrong because, at the end of the day, cybercrime is always about making money.

In the following months ransomware increased a staggering 6000%, earning 2016 the title of “The Year of Ransomware”. Of the businesses affected, 70% chose to pay the ransom, making it one of cybercrime’s most profitable ventures.

The WannaCry Shift
Ever since the May 12, 2017 start of the global “WannaCry” (also known as “WanaCry,” “W-cry,” and “Wcry”) ransomware worm attack that largely affected healthcare organizations affiliated with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), criminals debated the ethics behind the attack. Consequently, Russian-speaking cybercriminals revisited the topic of ransomware and its place within the criminal underground. Previously, ransomware presented cybercriminals with the aforementioned ethical dilemma, as it prevented hospital professionals from providing care. However, Flashpoint’s May 2017 review of cybercriminal discussions on ransomware indicated that many threat actors in the Russian-language underground are moving past their ethical concerns and now view banning ransomware as predominantly a business issue.

One threat actor who suggested banning ransomware cited the following reasons:

• “It attracts attention to malware and causes companies to introduce measures to increase their security.”

• “It increases general awareness of topics related to information security.”

• “It kills malware tools predicated on loaders, js (javascript execution), doc macro (payloads) etc., as these get blocked everywhere.”

• “It’s a business which is built not on intelligence and mental dexterity, but on brute-force and luck.”

The actor went on to say that by “allowing ransomware operators on the forum, we are digging our own grave. Of course, banning this work on the forum doesn’t stop this type of business, but as a minimum we can use community disapproval to make it more difficult to enter into it.”

The post generated multiple unique responses, almost half (48.5%) of which expressed support for the ban.

Threat actors in favor of the ban echoed concerns that Russian underground administrators shared in 2016: ransomware attracts too much attention, may impede other types of cybercrime, could be too-easily turned toward Russia, and may incentivize the government to act more harshly toward underground communities.

Some threat actors, however, suggested that the use of ransomware is still a personal decision — as long as Russia is protected:

“There is only one rule – don’t target Russia. All other cases depend on one’s degree of perversion. Some people take grandma’s last 10k, some encrypt a corporate company and ransom [their files] for 2k, some brute-force WordPress control panels, upload shells and then send spam or host their own malware, some install skimmers. Everyone has their own thing.”

This one example speaks volumes about how the ethics of cybercrime are constantly evolving, often in unanticipated ways. The culture of underground communities, the power of their administrators, and the ethical dilemmas and other criminal disagreements they face cannot be determined by looking at technical indicators of compromise (IOCs) alone. Applying tradecraft, language, vernacular and culture savvy to actively listening in to a group are what truly provide the best perspective for defenders to consider as they work to mitigate their organization’s risk. It’s also important to look at these threat actors as individuals — not just as shadowy villains. After all, these problems stem from threat actors, are developed by threat actors, and ultimately can be ended by threat actors.

For now, we know that ransomware is no longer off limits and that cybercriminals are being less selective in their targets.

The cybercriminal ecosystem has been historically and traditionally driven by the value of data on the cyber black markets. Recently, successful attacks have illustrated both a shift in cybercriminals’ business models and a nascent understanding in the cybercriminal community of another way to assign value to data: by assessing the value it presents to its owner.

Protecting Businesses
Organizations seeking to mitigate risks posed by threat actors operating on the DDW must first recognize that these actors are human beings and not faceless, shadowy villains. Defenders should continually establish and/or further develop profiles of relevant threat actors, such as those who have previously attacked, targeted, and/or are seen as a threat to that organization. These profiles shouldn’t simply consist of IOCs; they should also provide insights into the human being represented by the profile. What are their preferences? What types of behaviors do they exhibit?

The combination of monitoring activity in the DDW and closely-monitoring observed attacker behaviors inside the organizational environment yields a much deeper perspective on the actors threatening the organization. This dramatically improves situational awareness and provides needed perspective when developing effective mitigation strategies for defense.

Operationally, processes for collecting and storing this information should be implemented to enhance visibility and limit repetitive, low-value tasks from taking time away from analysts. The following suggestions can help operationalize the necessary components of this collection and processing:

• Ensure that incident response processes collect needed details for threat intelligence collection

• Ensure there are mechanisms in place to store collected incident response details along with other observables from the environment such that they can be appropriately processed and searched by analysts

• DDW collection from a professional, trusted provider with data and analysis made available to internal analysts

• Provide needed context via automated means where possible (WHOIS data, passive DNS, connection to other observables and historical data, etc.)

• Ensure that analysts can add their own analysis and notes not only to individual IOCs but also provide the ability to curate and store finished reporting along with associated connections to IOCs and related analysis

Conclusion
Visibility into criminal forums on the DDW is a huge asset for defenders, allowing them to understand the ethics and nuances of the mindsets of cybercriminals. Coupling this information with threat intelligence collections inside an organization helps defensive teams develop deep perspectives and create a “rudder” to guide effective mitigation strategies against current threats. The value this creates is significant for organizations that make investments in these areas versus operating largely in the dark regarding the origins of the attacks seen in the environment every day. As the mindsets and capabilities of cybercriminals change and adapt, so should defenders in how they approach their defensive posture.

To learn more about emerging trends and nuances within the underground economy, Read our research on cybercriminal communications.

For more information on how organizations can leverage intelligence to enhance security, read Anomali’s report on the value of threat intelligence.

This blog post has also been published on Anomali’s blog, here.

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