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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Flashpoint Closes Majority Growth Investment from Audax

The Fall of an Empire

September 9, 2020

by Ian Gray

On August 22, 2020, Empire Market shuttered their illicit operations. Previous notable marketplace takedowns like Wall Street Market in 2019, and AlphaBay and Hansa Market in 2017 have caused vendors and customers to pause, take stock of their cryptocurrencies, and wait for a takedown notice. Public reporting of the goods and services on these markets has attracted vendors and customers, but also resulted in increased law enforcement attention.

Reports indicate that the Empire moderators absconded with approximately $30 million in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR). The shutdown marks one of many cybercrime marketplace closures within the last few years, leaving security professionals and law enforcement to ask “what’s next?” Where will users migrate, and how will they use technology to better ensure privacy or security in the instance of an exit scam, or a takedown.

Building an Empire

Over a hundred markets preceded Empire Market. Silk Road is often considered the prototypical market, in that it created the modern template for listings, anonymous payments, escrow services, and community driven forum.1 In 2013, Silk Road was taken down by a law enforcement operation, which resulted in the marketplace administrator receiving a double life sentence, as well as the prosecution of the moderators. The takedown provided a warning to future marketplaces that their operations may not be completely anonymous. However, the publicized revenue from the market continued to attract individuals wishing to establish new venues.2

Many marketplaces attempted to capture the enthusiasm of Silk Road, while avoiding their administrators’ sentencing. AlphaBay launched in 2014, and instituted technological improvements to enforce security and build trust, like accepting privacy focused cryptocurrencies. Within a short period of time, the market established a solid user base of 400,000 unique customer accounts. In 2017, law enforcement seized AlphaBay in a coordinated operation with the Dutch police who had already taken over administration of Hansa. AlphaBay migrants were scooped up as they attempted to establish new accounts on Hansa. This operation3 demonstrated that law enforcement may capitalize on the confusion following a takedown in order to sow distrust with marketplace administrators.

Empire launched in January 2018 with the intention of establishing itself as the premiere venue of illicit products and services, including drugs and fraud related goods. The administrators created Empire as an homage to AlphaBay, originally launching as “OmegaBay.” The market used the same source code as AlphaBay and mimicked the layout in style and design. The name was changed in February 2018 in order to avoid confusion with the rival Omega Market. Empire’s creators even included a memoriam to AlphaBay’s late founder and developer with the message, “In Memory of Alexandre Cazes.”

Rival Empires 

Empire initially competed with other illicit cybercrime marketplaces, like Dream and Wall Street, that pre-dated the AlphaBay and Hansa takedowns. Vendors and customers were hesitant of new entrants for fear that they were law enforcement honey pots. While markets like Silk Road and AlphaBay competed by providing additional features that supported privacy and anonymity, Dream and Wall Street competed by having established user bases. Further, these marketplaces already weathered additional technological and social changes in the cybercrime ecosystem.

The proliferation of mobile technology and encrypted messaging applications like Telegram, created new venues for fraud. Chat channels for dedicated communications like drugs, carding, and fraud, provide security by default with the benefits of almost instantaneous communications. Chat does not provide an escrow feature, creating higher risk for illicit trade. However, vendors have the advantage of side-stepping marketplace commissions and vendor bonds through off-band communications. Chat also eliminates the prospect of coping with losses from a marketplace exit scam.

Since launching in February 2018, Dread has become a centralized messaging platform for cybercrime markets. This is owed partially to Reddit’s ban of fraud related subreddits in March 2018. However in 2019 during an onslaught of distributed denial of service (DDoS) extortion attacks targeting cybercrime marketplaces, Dread managed to maintain their uptime and share mirror links for other markets. These DDoS attacks exploited a Tor vulnerability that affected most marketplaces, and social news sites like Dread. The growth of Dread partially eliminated the need for marketplace forums by providing a community aspect which could not be afforded by Empire. Users on Dread could share information about a variety of topics, and vendors could share links to their pages on various markets. 

In March 2019, Dream announced their plans to shutdown, avoid the DDoS attacks, and re-launch under a new name. In April 2019, Wall Street attempted an exit scam, which resulted in a law enforcement takedown. Following Wall Street’s closure, Empire was poised to become the largest market, though they still coped with issues from ongoing DDoS attacks. A rumored exit scam in June 2019 created doubt with their userbase and sparked questions regarding the future of the marketplace.

Empire’s eventual closure could be attributed to changes in the fraud landscape, like the growth of chat, or the barrage of DDoS attacks. Empire’s inability to maintain consistent uptime or onion addresses made it difficult to attract new members. Their shutdown could also be considered the passing of an empire, perhaps marking a new age of marketplaces.

The Next Empire

After any marketplace closure, the cybercrime community also pauses and asks, “what’s next?” In the immediate aftermath of Empire’s closure, individuals posed questions on Dread asking about the integrity of newer markets, like White House. Other users ensured to stress the importance of operational security to prevent potential compromise. The fallout from AlphaBay and Hansa still looms over the community by casting doubt on the integrity of new markets. Previous closures indicate that technological or administrative changes to existing marketplaces come slowly, and are built upon tough lessons often learned from indictments and criminal complaints. Three years after the AlphaBay takedown, the Department of Justice continues to churn out sentencing orders for its moderators.4 The next largest cybercrime marketplace may not be able to compete with the size or revenue of Silk Road or AlphaBay, though they will likely try. Changes to the cybercrime ecosystem, and increased pressure from law enforcement will continue to place demands on the administrators.

At this time, we can only speculate on the structure of future marketplaces. The continued demands for illicit products indicates that there is some value in the current format. It is not likely that other communication tools, like chat, will completely replace marketplaces. However it will likely continue to supplement marketplaces for fraud venues. The lack of feedback, escrow, and moderators makes chat a risky endeavor for new entrants.

Following previous marketplace closures, users anticipated greater adoption of decentralized shops like OpenBazaar. Though it offers benefits over traditional marketplaces regarding administration, uptime, and encryption, issues regarding search functionality prevented users from wholly adopting. New vendorshop-as-a-service offerings may provide an alternative to the current marketplace structure. Users wishing to continue with a traditional market will likely go to White House, which requires customers to connect a PGP key to their account after registering.

Whatever the format for the next marketplace, there will be doubt regarding its longevity. Though users may be able to use privacy focused cryptocurrencies like Monero, multi-signature wallets, and v3 onion addresses, there will continue to be risk of law enforcement takedown, or exit scam. Despite these countervailing factors, administrators will try to establish their own empire and risk arrest in the process.

For more insight into the information above and how Flashpoint’s actionable intelligence can benefit your organization, request a 30 day trial here.

1The first marketplace was Farmer’s Market, which was taken down in 2012 as part of Operation Adam Bomb. Farmer’s Market was formerly known as Adamflowers. 
2$183 million in BTC
3Operation Bayonet

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