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Ex-FBI Agent, N.Y. Regulator Join K2 Consulting Firm

K2 Intelligence, a cybersecurity consulting firm, has hired a former FBI cryptocurrency expert and a former regulator who worked on New York's digital currency regulations.

K2 on Monday hired Dana Syracuse as managing director of its anti-money-laundering and regulatory compliance practice. K2 also named Vincent D'Agostino associate managing director of its U.S. cyber investigations and incident response practice. D'Agostino started Monday and Syracuse starts Sept. 10.

Syracuse, former associate general counsel at the New York State Department of Financial Services, was involved in the drafting of BitLicense, New York's regulatory framework for digital currency businesses. He also developed cybersecurity standards and chartering virtual currency exchanges.

D'Agostino, who worked on the Silk Road online black market case while at the FBI, is considered an authority on identity theft and investigations of the deep web (sections of the Internet not accessible by Google or other search engines) and the dark web (online content that requires specific software or authorizations to access).

Many in the banking and financial services industry believe digital currency usage will become a new area of attention for cybersecurity and AML compliance experts. K2's hiring of these two executives reflects that growing belief, Thomas Bock, executive managing director, said in an interview.

If cryptocurrency or its underlying blockchain technology takes off "like many believe it will, it's certainly going to be a hard focus around what banks and Bitcoin companies are doing, from an AML perspective," Bock said.

The BitLicense is "the first regulation that really brought AML and cybersecurity together," he said.

Syracuse is enthusiastic about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, since technologies now used for currency transactions date to the "Apollo era," he said. "It's kind of crazy we're still using it."

Digital wallets and other new payments systems will "wind up having a cybersecurity component we're only just beginning to understand," Syracuse said.

K2 will be able to "bring emerging payments to the more traditional banking side," he said.

K2, founded in 2009 by Jules and Jeremy Kroll, employs about 300 people. The insurance giant American International Group earlier this year invested an undisclosed amount in K2, and formed a partnership to develop cybersecurity risk mitigation and management products.

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