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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
President
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
VP APAC Sales
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.
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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.
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.

Why the New AlphaBay Matters: Anonymity, Cryptocurrency, and the Future of Illicit Marketplaces

Blog
September 24, 2021

Why the New AlphaBay Matters

On July 5, 2017, AlphaBay—the original AlphaBay—was notoriously shut down along with Hansa. The cybercrime underworld reeled in the aftermath: law enforcement had planted an ominous seed in doubt in the administration of current and future illicit online marketplaces. 

And yet, on August 6, 2021, AlphaBay bewilderingly relaunched. Thus far, this iteration of AlphaBay has been met with skepticism among the threat actor community.

In this article, we examine AlphaBay—then and now; detail its current iteration to-date and rules of engagement; and analyze what AlphaBay’s reemergence means for illicit marketplaces, the threat actors who operate within them, and the organizations, communities, and individuals they target. 

AlphaBay, 2014-2017

No other illicit marketplace captured the collective interest of disparate cybercrime communities quite like the original AlphaBay. Its founder, “Alpha02,” was a regular on Tor Carding Forum (TCF) while its security administrator and self-proclaimed AlphaBay co-founder, “DeSnake,” frequented other illicit marketplaces like Evolution.

AlphaBay experienced an increase in active users following the shutdown of TCF in December 2014 and exit of Evolution in March 2015. As a result AlphaBay became one of the most popular, comprehensive, and largest cybercrime marketplaces in terms of active users, vendors, and listings. AlphaBay was a one-stop shop for cybercriminals and served as a jumping off point for threat actors to propagate illicit activity like buying and selling drugs, general malware and hacking tools, and compromised or counterfeit information.

Now, several years later, threat actors still await a successor to AlphaBay that can reengineer its prior effectiveness. It remains to be seen whether or not AlphaBay can follow in its own footsteps.

Heirs Apparent

Following AlphaBay’s takedown, several marketplaces also experienced a bump in active users. Dream Market, which slightly pre-dated AlphaBay, became the heir apparent but it was shut down in 2019 by its own admins supposedly over fears of suffering a fate similar to Hansa and AlphaBay. Dream Market, which was concentrated on the sale of drugs and stolen data, publicly attributed the shutdown to incessant DDoS attacks and an expensive ransom demand. 

Other marketplaces, like Wall Street Market, launched in 2016 after a short period of cooldown.  It was taken down in 2019 by a joint law enforcement effort between the United States and Germany. 

Empire Market launched in the image of AlphaBay and even included an homage to its fallen administrator. Administrators pulled off an “exit scam” in August 2020; it was well positioned as an escrow service to make off with users’ crypto.

The Current Landscape

Other marketplaces like White House Market, Dark0de Reborn, and World Market have all experienced a high level of success as they have been able to amass tens of thousands of listings respectively. At its takedown, the original AlphaBay boasted over 350,000 offerings. 

New AlphaBay, New Rules, New Operations

The “new” AlphaBay announced its return on the centralized underground messaging platform Dread. “DeSnake”—whose identity has been confirmed to be the same threat actor behind the original AlphaBay—also shared new rules of engagement for administrators and vendors within the marketplace and forum.

Fentanyl, COVID Fraud Banned

Fentanyl and fentanyl-laced substances, COVID-19 vaccines, and activity related to Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia are all verboten. (These rules are not uncommon as most marketplaces want to avoid attention from law enforcement and the Russian intelligence services.) 

Cryptocurrency: Monero Only

AlphaBay requires its customers to use Monero to conduct transactions—the original marketplace implemented support for Monero in 2016—due to “higher security and anonymity” than Bitcoin. Notably, several other illicit marketplaces accept Monero and Bitcoin because the adoption of Monero exclusively could push users to conduct business elsewhere.

AlphaBay also warns against using swappers from Bitcoin to Monero as, according to “DeSnake,” they could expose parts of AlphaBay’s infrastructure and lead to law enforcement halting trade or freezing crypto account balances. 

If AlphaBay takes off, it could foment a wider adoption of Monero as acceptable payment on other illicit marketplaces. In theory Monero makes it more difficult to attribute identifiers of the sender and receiver. “DeSnake” has also promoted a functionality called “AlphaGuard” in order to protect threat actor wallets in the event of a raid or seizure—the fate of the original AlphaBay. 

At the time of this writing, White House Market is currently the only top darknet market to enforce a Monero-only payment policy, a possible factor inhibiting the marketplace from reaching original AlphaBay status.

Decentralization

The current iteration of AlphaBay appears to be solely designed to bootstrap a “Decentralized Market Network Project.”

When “DeSnake” initially appeared on AlphaBay, the threat actor stated a firm belief that “darknet marketplaces (including ones similar to OpenBazaar ideas) and forums are the future and the way to go.” OpenBazaar (OB), the prototypical decentralized marketplace, shuttered in January 2021 due to a lack of funding. Though OB had its roots in dark marketplaces, it aimed to create a legitimate e-commerce platform that was devoid of central authority. 

“DeSnake” intends to morph AlphaBay into a “decentralized market” by 2022 or 2023. The ultimate goal would be to create a fully anonymous market and network that would be “near impossible” for law enforcement to take down. The aforementioned details are all key developments for law enforcement, researchers, and security teams to follow, as anonymity is major capital for threat actors. 

“DeSnake” said AlphaGuard would be obsolete once the market is decentralized.

DeSnake’s disappearance since AlphaBay’s shutdown, as well as abrupt exits from Evolution and scuttled projects like Club 99 do not breed confidence for the prospects of a decentralized market. Failed ventures like OpenBazaar also cast doubt on the feasibility of a peer-to-peer exchange.

AlphaBay Hosting: A Push Towards I2P

Previously, AlphaBay was hosted exclusively on Tor. In DeSnake’s Dread announcement, they stated that this new iteration of AlphaBay would be hosted on I2P, with a mirror site on Tor. According to “DeSnake,” they will continue to operate a Tor mirror site until the “majority of users migrate” to I2P.  As of this publishing the Tor site is still live. 

“DeSnake” has also commented on Dread that the administration has decided to host AlphaBay on I2P because of its advantages in defending against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which was a factor in driving Dream Market offline.

More Questions Than Answers

DeSnake’s operational security tactics for the new AlphaBay 2.0, like the sole use of Monero and I2P, both of which have been implemented for their increased anonymity, are generally less popular and create a barrier to entry for existing darknet vendors. 

According to our research, the volume of current marketplace offerings remains relatively low. As of this publishing there are more than 500 total offerings. However, since the Tor and I2P sites went live, offerings have been steadily trickling in.

The general skepticism of DeSnake’s motives—some claim that “DeSnake” is acting on behalf of law enforcement or that the alias of “DeSnake” has been taken over by law enforcement—also serves as a deterrent for current vendors from making the switch. 

At this time, AlphaBay is a market like any other although it’s evident that it dreams of growing into something more—a place where threat actors can conduct illicit business anonymously. 

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