In package deal, Thomas Brown & team join consultancy BRG

The renowned team is best known for its role in the Silk Road investigation.

Thomas Brown
Credit: Berkeley Research Group

Global advisory and consulting firm Berkeley Research Group (BRG) announced that it has hired a team of cybersecurity experts, led by Thomas Brown. Brown has been named as BRG’s Global Leader of Cyber Security/Investigations. Matthew Edman and Christopher Tarbell will be directors. Ilhwan Yum and Thomas Kiernan join as associate directors.

“Tom and his team aren’t your run-of-the-mill cyber security consultants—they’ve been at the tip of the spear on cases where the whole world was watching,” said BRG Chairman Dr. David Teece. “Given the immense scope of cyber security today, both geographically and on a sector level, we have no doubt that this veteran team will be of incredible value to our clients across the board.”

Brown, a former federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, teamed with Tarbell, Edman, Yum and Kiernan — then with the FBI — on some of the most significant cyber investigations of the Internet era. The group spearheaded the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the operators of Silk Road, a notorious $1.2 billion underground drug website. They also investigated and prosecuted the leadership of the hacktivist groups Anonymous and LulzSec.

At the Southern District of New York, where Brown supervised the Complex Frauds and Cyber Crime Unit, he developed and led a range of cutting-edge and technologically complex investigations. They included the hacks of NASDAQ, Citibank and PNC Bank; Rove Digital, a massive botnet of more than four million computers; Liberty Reserve, an online digital currency used by criminals worldwide to launder over $6 billion in illegal proceeds; and Samarth Agrawal, who stole high-frequency trading code from Société Générale. Aside from his extensive cyber experience, Brown also led significant investigations and prosecutions of a wide variety of white collar offenses, including FCPA violations, tax fraud, economic espionage and theft of trade secrets, money laundering, securities fraud, bankruptcy fraud, identity theft, and criminal copyright theft, among others. He was also responsible for creating an innovative strategy to combat online piracy, which formed the basis for a continuing international intellectual property rights enforcement program by the Department of Homeland Security.

After leaving government service, Brown, Tarbell, Edman, Yum and Kiernan joined the private sector at an international consulting firm, where for two years they advised private- and public-sector clients on cyber security management and investigations. The group also regularly consults with government agencies seeking their expertise on cyber security matters.

“Clients value our unique insight and proven track record, so BRG’s depth of talent and breadth of knowledge are exciting for us — they give us the opportunity to create synergies across various practice groups and capabilities,” said Brown. “Our strength lies in our experience — not only in critical cyber security issues and crises, but in working together — and we’re confident this will lead to top-notch results for our clients.”

About the team:

Edman is a computer scientist who specializes in cyber security and investigations. He previously worked as a lead cyber security engineer for a federally funded research and development center, where he provided specialized computer network security research and development to federal law enforcement on a number of cases. He also worked as a senior vulnerability engineer for a global financial services, software and media company based in New York. He has been recognized within law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community as a subject-matter expert on cyber investigations related to anonymous communication systems, such as Tor, and virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

Tarbell buttresses his vast law-enforcement experience with a master’s degree in computer science and information security. His work as part of the FBI’s preeminent cyber crime squad allowed him to develop deep working relationships with law enforcement partners around the world. Tarbell regularly teaches cyber investigative techniques to law enforcement officers and lectures to business and government groups on various cyber threats.

Yum is practiced in cyber-event response and analysis, and also regularly provides trial support and data analysis for high-profile cyber investigations for the U.S. government. As a special agent with the FBI, Yum led numerous investigations, including many involving botnets, attacks on financial infrastructure by Eastern European-based cyber criminals, and hacktivists.

Kiernan worked as a computer scientist for nearly 25 years at the FBI, where he supported numerous cyber crime, terrorism and national security investigations by analyzing electronic evidence and conducting extensive technical research. In recognition of his exceptional talent and experience, Kiernan has been a recipient of both the U.S. Attorney General’s Award and the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Cyber Investigation.

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