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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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Trickbot Gang Evolves, Incorporates Account Checking Into Hybrid Attack Model

Blog
November 22, 2017

Individuals who reuse login credentials across multiple sites are more susceptible to account checking attacks, which occur when threat actors use credentials stolen from past database breaches or compromises to gain unauthorized access to other accounts belonging to the same victims. However, the process of mining compromised data for correct username and password combinations requires significant computer processing power and proxy pool lists to be successful — a capability that is now exhibited by the Trickbot gang.

Considered to be the successor of the formidable Dyre banking Trojan gang, the Trickbot banking Trojan gang continues to evolve by adopting new attack methods and targeting various industries. While Trickbot predominantly targeted the financial industry, it has now expanded its targeting of other industries via its account checking activities; these are perpetrated through the backconnect SOCKS5 module enlisting victims as proxies. Enlisting victims as its proxies allows the gang to perform account checking activity with the same IP as its victims. The gang account checking operation requires a steady stream of new and “clean” proxies to make sure their activities wouldn’t get automatically blocked by companies’ automatic IP origin anti-fraud systems. Therefore, their existing infections are turned into account checking proxies.

Image 1: The process of Trickbot’s backconnect proxy account checking activity. In the first step, the Trickbot gang distributes email spam. In the second step, the victim opens the spam attachment. In the third step, Trickbot downloads and executes the payload from the payload server on the compromised machine. In the fourth step, the victim machine downloads the backconnect SOCKS5 proxy module from the module server. Then, the victim connects to the preconfigured gang’s backconnect server. Finally, the Trickbot gang connects to the victim enlisting their machine’s IP as its proxy for account checking activities via its backconnect SOCKS5 module.

The Trickbot gang continues to search for ways to monetize infections by adopting a hybrid attack model, which utilizes both Trickbot modular payloads and knowledgeable fraud operators. The Trickbot gang has also extended its operations to include account checking activity; such attacks are a combination of malware expertise and knowledgeable human operators. This hybrid approach allows Trickbot operators to launch account checking attacks leveraging infected victims as proxies.

Distributed through malicious Microsoft Office documents via email spam campaigns, Trickbot is notable for loading its backconnect SOCKS5 module bcClientDllTest onto compromised machines. This module is used extensively by the gang for account checking activity.

From Aug. 17 to the present, analysts observed close to 6,000 unique compromised machines associated with Trickbot SOCKS5 proxy module activities. Of these machines, more than 200 of them were actively enlisted for account checking fraud activities at any one time.

Image 2: The Trickbot SOCKS5 backconnect module contains authorization backconnect logic to check in to the backend.

Trickbot utilizes a backconnect communication protocol maintaining the following commands, which are used for client-server communications initially with the command prefix “c”:

● disconnect: Terminate the backconnect server connection
● idle: Maintain the client-server connection
● connect: connect to the backconnect server. The command must consist of the following parameters:

○ ip: Backconnect server’s IP address
○ auth_swith: Use authorization flag. If the value is set to “1”, the Trojan receives the auth_login and auth_pass parameters. If the value is “0”, the Trojan gets the auth_ip parameter. Otherwise, the connection will not be established.
○ auth_ip: Authentication IP address
○ auth_login: Authentication login
○ auth_pass: Authentication password

Image 3: A Trickbot victim connects to the Trickbot backconnect server.

There are three main Trickbot SOCKS5 server-client commands:

● c=idle
● c=disconnect
● c=connect

Trickbot victims create a sequence of GET requests to the server on gate[.]php:

● client_id=&connected=&server_port=&debug=

The server responds with a POST request with the following parameters if the connection needs to be established:

● c=connect&ip=&auth_swith=&auth_ip=&auth_login=&auth_pass=

If the connection needs to be terminated, the server will respond with c=disconnect.

Image 4: The Trickbot machine actively pings the server every 100 seconds.

Most notably, once compromised, Trickbot targets customers of financial institutions via webinjects and redirection attacks. The Trojan also uses victim IPs as proxies to leverage username and password combinations for account checking activity. The observed account checking activity mainly targets customers of companies in nine industries, most of those in gaming. Notably, some of the targets appear to be Russia-based companies.

Image 5: Trickbot account checking activities mainly target customers in nine industries.

Trickbot account checking activity is mainly directed to customers of U.S.- and Russia-based companies operating in the following industries:

● Gaming
● Technology
● Financial
● Entertainment
● Adult
● Social Media
● Retail
● Rewards
● Cryptocurrency

Likely leveraging commercial account checker tools, the Trickbot gang and its associates heavily utilize its victims’ IPs as proxies for account checking activity that imitates mobile device-based account logins. Their attacks leave various web applications artifacts such as spoofed user agent information and device information, indicating as if the activity was being performed leveraging mobile devices. Such mobile logins are meant to bypass traditional anti-fraud controls that are largely implemented to address web-based logins. In cybercriminals’ pursuit of targets, their attempts at evading anti-fraud systems are thus dictated by a company’s anti-fraud controls, which are in turn influenced by cybercriminal tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). Analysts assess with moderate confidence the Trickbot operators will likely continue to monetize infections by turning victims’ IPs into proxies that subsequently fuel account checking activities.

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Vitali Kremez

Director of Research

Vitali Kremez is a Director of Research at Flashpoint. He oversees analyst collection efforts and leads a technical team that specializes in researching and investigating complex cyber attacks, network intrusions, data breaches, and hacking incidents. Vitali is a strong believer in responsible disclosure and has helped enterprises and government agencies deliver indictments of many high-profile investigations involving data breaches, network intrusions, ransomware, computer hacking, intellectual property theft, credit card fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. Previously, Vitali enjoyed a rewarding career as a Cybercrime Investigative Analyst for the New York County District Attorney’s Office.
He has earned the majority of certifications available in the information technology, information security, digital forensics, and fraud intelligence fields. A renowned expert, speaker, blogger, and columnist, Vitali has contributed articles to Dark Reading, BusinessReview, and Infosecurity Magazine and is a frequent commentator on cybercrime, hacking incidents, policy, and security.

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