Alexander J. Urbelis

PARTNER

 

 

 

 

 

1201 Broadway
9th Floor
New York, NY 10001
P: +1 (212) 779 3070 x 101

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PGP Key

 

EDUCATION

New College, Oxford University, B.C.L., 2008, Editor, Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal

Vermont Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005, Technology Editor, Vermont     Law Review

Stony Brook University, B.A., Philosophy, summa cum laude, 2002

 

JUDICIAL CLERKSHIPS

Chief Judge Andrew Effron,     US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 2005–2007

Justice Denise R. Johnson,     Vermont Supreme Court,       2004 (judicial extern)

 

BAR & COURT ADMISSIONS

New York

District of Columbia

US District Court for the Eastern District of New York

US District Court for the Southern District of New York

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit


Mr. Alexander J. Urbelis is an experienced attorney and CISO.  Alex has been part of the information security community for more than 20 years and who has truly varied experience as a C-level officer, in-house counsel, private practice litigator, and a federal attorney.

As the Chief Information Security Officer of the National Football League, Alex controlled cyber risk and directed the NFL’s worldwide information security strategy for the protection of information assets within and without the NFL. Based in New York and London, Alex was the Chief Compliance Officer of one of the world’s largest luxury conglomerates, handling all aspects of worldwide legal compliance, including anti-bribery and anti-corruption efforts, whistle-blowing matters, internal and external investigations, and ensuring that employees and partners adhered business conduct and corporate social responsibility standards. Prior to promotion to CCO, Alex was in-house information security counsel, responsible for mitigating information security risk, managing incident response scenarios, and developing legal and security-focused risk management procedures.

Alex is the principal architect of our firm's unique DNS monitoring and intelligence platform, OMNI (Open-source Multidisciplinary Network Intelligence). Designed to identify hallmarks of impending attacks, cybersquatters, counterfeiters, and other malicious actors, using our OMNI platform Alex has assisted companies worldwide with the early detection, investigation, and termination of sophisticated cybersecurity threats before a breach or reputational damage occurs.

At Steptoe & Johnson LLP in New York and Washington, DC, Alex’s practice centered around issues at the intersection of law and technology. Counseling companies both domestically and abroad, Alex provided data security and privacy advice, and assisted the world’s largest technology companies and non-profit organizations with issues of Internet governance and the expansion of the DNS through ICANN’s new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Alex personally worked on the drafting and submission of over 200 gTLD applications during the first application round.  In addition, Alex has considerable experience with Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings, Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) proceedings, and national Dispute Resolution Proceedings (DRPs) to reclaim domain names from cybersquatters. 

An active member of several privacy and security-related organizations, Alex frequently lectures on the subject of cyber security and open source intelligence (OSINT) collection, and provides strategic legal and technical advice in domestic and cross-border proceedings involving privacy, national security, data forensics, spoliation of electronic evidence, and disputes pertaining to technology-related contracts and patents.  

In recognition of his technical and legal acumen, Alex was recently selected as a Member of the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Security Council for the 2017 - 2020 term.  In addition, Alex was elected to the Board of Directors of the Internet Society NY Chapter for the 2018 - 2019 term.

As an appellate lawyer, Alex has represented US service members and civilians in claims for compensation for torture before the US Supreme Court and has successfully argued for Convention Against Torture protection for potential deportees in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Alex’s federal service includes working for the Office of General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Army JAG Corps, and as a Research Associate in the Technical Analysis Group of Dartmouth College’s Institute for Security Technology Studies, a national center for information security and counterterrorism research and analysis. Alex also served as a judicial law clerk to Chief Judge Effron of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and as a judicial extern to Justice Denise Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court.

Alex is regularly called upon by the media to opine on matters both legal and technical, and his published writings range from scholarly works, to bar journals, to op-editorials for CNN and The Intercept.  Alex is a correspondent for the Oxford Martin Cybersecurity Capacity Portal, a pioneering and interdisciplinary research center of the University of Oxford, and also a producer for the weekly radio show and podcast, Off The Hook, broadcast on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York.

Public interest work is of great importance to Alex. His pro bono matters have included appellate representation in immigration and death penalty proceedings, and extensive litigation on behalf of indigent tenants in New York. 

 Select Appearances and Publications

  • United Nations Brief, International Organizations Increasingly the Target of Cyber Attacks (covering Mr. Urbelis' identification of state-sponsored intrusion attempts on international organizations and healthcare institutions) (17 October 2020)
  • Hacker | Hunter, Ha(ck)cine: Defending the Cure (television series covering Mr. Urbelis' identification of state-sponsored intrusion attempts on the World Health Organization) (2 October 2020)
  • Hacker | Hunter, Ha(ck)cine: Healthcare on the Edge (television series covering Mr. Urbelis' identification of state-sponsored intrusion attempts on the World Health Organization) (25 September 2020)
  • CNBC, Fears Mount Over Russian and Chinese Hackers Targeting the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election (24 September 2020)
  • Reason, Trump May Tank TikTok Deal Because Government Does Not Get a Cut (17 September 2020)
  • Reuters, US Offers to Exempt Employees, Contractors from TikTok Executive Order (15 September 2020)
  • CNN, Trump Admin. Provides First Details on How a TikTok Ban Would Work (14 September 2020)
  • CNET, TikTok Ban Won't Prevent Employees Rrom Being Paid, US Says in Filing (14 September 2020)
  • dot.LA, TikTok Employees Will Get Paid Despite Trump's Order, DOJ Says (14 September 2020)
  • Phoenix Ifeng, 起诉特朗普的TikTok美国员工:我必须为大家做这件事 (30 August 2020)
  • Xinhua News, US Users Rally Behind TikTok, WeChat amid Washington Crackdown (26 August 2020)
  • CNN, TikTok Employee Sues Trump Admin. Over 'Unconstitutional' Executive Order (24 August 2020)
  • The Hill, TikTok Employee Files Separate Lawsuit Over Executive Order (24 August 2020)
  • dot.LA, 'I'm a Patriot': US Employee Sues Trump Admin Over TikTok Ban (24 August 2020)
  • Arab News 24, Two TikTok Lawsuits Filed on the Same Day (23 August 2020)
  • Fox Business News, Trump Orders Targeted in TikTok Employee's Legal Fight (18 August 2020)
  • CBN News, Vaccine Espionage and the WHO Hacking Attempt (interview with Mr. Urbelis regarding vaccine espionage and state-sponsored targeting of the World Health Organization) (15 June 2020)
  • NPR News, Cybersecurity Lawyer Who Flagged The WHO Hack Warns Of 'Massive' Remote Work Risks (interview with Mr. Urbelis regarding his identification of state-sponsored intrusion attempts on the World Health Organization) (30 March 2020)
  • Reuters, Exclusive: Elite Hackers Target WHO as Coronavirus Cyberattacks Spike (reporting on Mr. Urbelis' identification of state-sponsored intrusion attempts on the World Health Organization) (23 March 2020)
  • New York University, Lecture on Cybersecurity Threats to IGOs and International Relations (scheduled for 15 April 2020, postponed)
  • King's College, London, Lecture on Cybersecurity Investigations and Legal Remedies (scheduled for 30 March 2020, postponed)
  • NY Daily News, NYPD Kicks Homeless Woman, Hero Dog Off Chelsea Streets (quoting Mr. Urbelis about Corey Johnson's abuse of the police power to harass and remove his homeless client) (30 December 2019)
  • NY Post, Homeless Woman Reunited with Beloved Dog Thanks to West Village Neighbor (reporting on Mr. Urbelis' successful fight to reunite an heroic dog with its homeless owner) (11 December 2019)
  • NY Daily News, Hero Dog Reunited with Owner After Saving Her from Creep on NYC Streets (reporting on Mr. Urbelis' successful fight to reunite an heroic dog with its homeless owner) (11 December 2019)
  • National Intelligence University, Minding Blind Spots & Hunting Threat Actors (ICC-B Campus, Bethesda, Maryland) (17 November 2019) (Mr. Urbelis will be briefing members of the US intelligence community on his work collecting DNS intelligence and tracking active threats)
  • Security and Data Protection in 2020, Law Enforcement and Legal Perspectives on the Protection of Company Assets, with Freeh Group International Solutions (Los Angeles) (23 October 2019)
  • CNN Opinion, US Will be Judged by How it Treats the Trump-Ukraine Whistleblowers (9 October 2019)
  • Financial Times, The Internet: Regulators Struggle to Balance Freedom with Risk (9 July 2019) (quoting Mr. Urbelis' about the use of digital tools to combat malicious activity online)
  • The Canary, A Lawyer Explains How the Persecution of Julian Assange Could Spectacularly Backfire (1 June 2019) (referencing Mr. Urbelis' CNN Opinion arguments)
  • KPFK (Pacifica Radio), Background Briefing (30 May 2019) (interviewing Mr. Urbelis about his CNN Opinion piece)
  • Rolling Stone, Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited (29 May 2019) (referencing Mr. Urbelis' CNN Opinion arguments)
  • CNN Opinion, New Assange Indictment is Legally Idiotic but Politically Shrewd (28 May 2019)
  • CNN Opinion, What the Mueller Report Tells Us About Assange's Case (27 April 2019)
  • Il Manifesto, Extradition and the Leaks that Changed the World (interviewing Mr. Urbelis on Julian Assange, Wikileaks, extradition, and the opinions of the hacker community) (in Italian) (12 April 2019)
  • King's College, London, Using the Common Law to Collect Evidence of Cybercrime (Mr. Urbelis will lecture on the processes and powers of attorneys to use legal process to investigate cybercrime) (3 April 2019)
  • The New Yorker, Is the Strand a Landmark? (quoting Mr. Urbelis about his representation of the Strand Book Store) (4 March 2019)
  • World Intellectual Property Review, A Shield and a Sword: When IP and Insurance Combine (featuring Mr. Urbelis' analyses of the utility of patent insurance policies) (February 2019)
  • NYCity Woman, New York's Changing Retail Scene (quoting Mr. Urbelis concerning the authority of the NY City Council and the Small Business Jobs Survival Act) (21 February 2019)
  • WLIW, The Strand Book Store Continues to Resist Landmark Status (discussing Mr. Urbelis' proposals to NY City that would avoid landmark designation) (20 February 2019)
  • Patch.com, Strand Book Store Will 'Fight to End' Against Landmarking (quoting Mr. Urbelis' remarks to the NYC Landmark Preservation Commission) (19 February 2019)
  • Gothamist, To Avoid Landmark Status, Strand Owner Offers Up a Compromise (quoting Mr. Urbelis concerning his proposal to NYC for a preservation easement as opposed to landmark designation) (19 February 2019)
  • CNBC, Nightly Business Report (quoting Mr. Urbelis concerning inherent problems with privacy policies, social media, the sale and transfer of data, and the erosion of user trust) (06 February 2019)
  • NY Times, The Battle to Make the Strand a Landmark Is About More Than a Building (quoting Mr. Urbelis' remarks to the Landmarks Preservation Commission as counsel to the Strand) (30 January 2019)
  • VICE Motherboard, How a Simple Copy/Paste Revealed Explosive New Detail in Manafort’s Case (quoting Mr. Urbelis concerning the mechanics of the Manafort redaction error) (9 January 2019)
  • CNN Opinion, Facebook Faces Major Repercussions if it Continues to Resist Government Scrutiny (8 December 2018)
  • ABC Eyewitness News, Strand Bookstore Owner Fights Against New York City Landmark Status (4 December 2018)
  • World Intellectual Property Review, Judge Orders Bloomberg to Face Social Media Trade Secret Suit (quoting Mr. Urbelis about a theft of trade secrets matter active in the SDNY) (21 November 2018)
  • Associated Press, Mystery: Who Bought Websites Implying US Senators for Sale (Mr. Urbelis identified hundreds of mysterious domain registrations targeting politicians on both sides of the political spectrum, repub'd by NY Times and other major news outlets) (23 July 2018)
  • Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) XII , Cybersquatting on the Trump Campaign: A Bizarre Tale of Real Fake News (Mr. Urbelis presented his findings concerning an information operation he uncovered that was directed against the Trump campaign in the Summer of 2016) (21 July 2018)
  • Il Manifesto, A New York al via Hope, la Conferenza Hacker (in Italian) (Describing Mr. Urbelis' HOPE presentation with regard to cybersquatting on the Trump campaign) (21 July 2018)
  • Hackaday, Oh the Fun You'll Have with a Bit of Social Engineering (Stories and techniques of social engineering set forth by Mr. Urbelis in this detailed coverage of the panel) (20 July 2018)
  • Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) XII , Social Engineering Panel (Mr. Urbelis participated in the always popular social engineering panel, explaining effective techniques together with live examples performed on stage) (20 July 2018)
  • Wall Street Journal, Businesses Blast California’s New Data-Privacy Law (Mr. Urbelis was quoted regarding privacy and compliance issues arising from the California Consumer Privacy Act) (1 July 2018)
  • Radio Popolare Conference, Milan, Italy (Mr. Urbelis spoke on several panels about security, privacy, and the impacts of these subjects on US politics) (16-18 June 2018)
  • Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Security Council , Cybersecurity and the Law (Mr. Urbelis presented to colleagues on the Security Council on the crossover of information security and legal issues, with emphasis on cybersecurity blindspots relating to the domain name system) (7 May 2018)
  • Lacrosse Tribune, Cybersecurity Expert Proposes Analog Solution to Election Hacking (Mr. Urbelis was interviewed on the subject of election security and whether Wisconsin's election system could be subject to tampering) (26 April 2018)
  • University of Wisconsin, What it Takes to Secure an Election in 2018 and Beyond (Mr. Urbelis lectured on the roles of academics, lawyers, hackers, and governments with regard to election security) (26 April 2018)
  • VICE Motherboard, Evidence Suggests the GOP Bought at Least 17 Anti-James Comey Domains (Motherboard covered Mr. Urbelis' identification of domains targeting James Comey utilizing Blackstone Law Group's in-house DNS monitoring and threat detection engine, OMNI ) (19 April 2018)
  • The Recorder (Law.com), WHOIS - Web Tool Used by IP Attorneys, Law Enforcement In Peril (Mr. Urbelis was quoted on the subject of whether Whois data is critical to cybersecurity investigations) (17 April 2018)
  • NYU Rennert Forum, Technology and International Relations: Disruption and re-Calibration (Mr. Urbelis lectured about DNS and domain-based cybersecurity blindspots affecting public and private institutions) (13 April 2018)
  • Il Manifesto, The Cambridge Analytica Chain Reaction (in Italian) (Mr. Urbelis was interviewed concerning the privacy and security issues stemming from the Cambridge Analytica fiasco and the use of social media) (25 March 2018)
  • Hacktivism in Brooklyn, BRIC TV (Mr. Urbelis was interviewed on the subjects of hacktivism, the DNC breach, 2018 voting election concerns, and the SecureDrop whistleblowing system) (27 February 2018)
  • Il Manifesto, Where North American Digital is Going (in Italian) (Mr. Urbelis was interviewed on the subjects of net neutrality, the future of broadband, and the proposed merger of Disney and Fox) (23 December 2017)
  • Morning Show, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed net neutrality, activism, and the legal challenges that will arise from the passage of the FCC's Restore Internet Freedom Order) (30 November 2017)
  • Financial Times, Intellectual Property: Taking the Fight to the Fakers (quoting Mr. Urbelis about using smart technology to track and trace counterfeiters) (16 November 2017)
  • CNBC, Nightly Business Report (Mr. Urbelis discussed the privacy and security concerns arising from the growing online gaming industry with a particular focus on the augmented reality app 'Snatch') (2 August 2017)
  • Pacifica Radio, Nationally Syndicated Broadcast on Pacifica Radio Stations and Affiliates (Mr. Urbelis read aloud his CNN op-ed, How '1984' Can Decode Trump's First 100 Days) (27 June 2017)
  • Coast to Coast AM, Nationally Syndicated Radio with Mike Siegel  (Mr. Urbelis discussed information security, the Russian hacking investigations, politics, and his 1984 CNN op-ed.) (22 June 2017)
  • On The Money, CBC Business News (Mr. Urbelis discussed ransomware and the role that software and operating system developers should play to mitigate this threat) (16 May 2017)
  • CNN Opinion, WannaCrypt Ransomware Attack Should Make Us Wanna Cry (14 May 2017) 
  • Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed ISPs' ability to monetize customer data and ongoing litigation about Bitcoin licensing requirements) (30 Mar. 2017)
  • The Indypendent, Not Your Grandpa's Payphone: Kiosks Worry Privacy Advocates (Mr. Urbelis discussed using legal process to obtain data from LinkNYC kiosks) (21 February 2017)
  • Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed his CNN op-ed on the parallels between 1984 and the practices of the Trump Administration) (1 February 2017)
  • CNN Opinion, How '1984' Can Decode Trump's First 100 Days (31 January 2017) 
  • BRIC TV, Free WiFi Kiosks in Brooklyn Are Raising Concerns Among the Cyber Expert Community (Mr. Urbelis discussed privacy concerns stemming from LinkNYC wifi kiosks) (26 January 2017)
  • Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed President Obama's commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence, UCMJ procedures, and the distinctions between Manning and Snowden) (18 January 2017) 
  • VICE Motherboard , What Does Rudy Giuliani Actually Know About Cybersecurity? (quoting Mr. Urbelis about the law enforcement implications of Giuliani's cyber role in the Trump administration) (12 January 2017) 
  • BRIC TV, Hacking the Vote: A Conversation with Hacker-Turned-Lawyer Alexander Urbelis (Mr. Urbelis discussed recount lawsuits and information security concerns about voting systems and the election results) (8 December 2016) 
  • Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis discussed electoral college reform and voting security implications) (16 November 2016) 
  • Inside the Dark Web Conference, An Update on the Panama Papers and Mossack Fonseca: A Tale of Money Laundering, Data Destruction, and Fallout, Washington, DC (2 November 2016)
  • SC Magazine, As Go the Candidates, So Goes U.S. Cyber Policy (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (1 November 2016)
  • BRIC TV, Hacking the Vote (Mr. Urbelis debated election security with the Executive Director of the Board of Elections of NYC) (22 September 2016) 
  • Off the Hook, WBAI, 99.5 fm (New York) (Mr. Urbelis was a guest speaker discussing sanctions litigation against Mossack Fonseca in the aftermath of the Panama Papers breach) (10 August 2016) 
  • SC Magazine, WhatsApp in the Spotlight after Turkey Publishes Messages of Coup Officers (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (25 July 2016) 
  • Hackers on Planet Earth XI, Code is from Mars, the Courts are from Venus: Reverse Engineering Legal Developments on Reverse Engineering, New York, New York (23 July 2016) 
  • Hackers on Planet Earth XI, The Panama Papers and the Law Firm Behind It: Shady Lawyers Caught with Their Pants Down, New York, New York (22 July 2016) 
  • SC Magazine, State Dep't Crippled by Cyber Practices, Inconsistent Messaging from U.S. Agencies (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (11 July 2016)
  • CBS New York, NYPD Stepping Up Security For Annual Gay Pride Parade (quoting Mr. Urbelis about the effect of increased security personnel presence after the Orlando nightclub massacre) (23 June 2016)
  • SC Magazine, DHS Intelligence Unit Lacks 'Adequate Oversight" for Continuity Capabilities (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (26 May 2016)
  • SC Magazine, Emails Raise More Questions of Clinton Infosec Practices (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (13 May 2016)
  • SC Magazine, Legal Effects of Encryption Bills Discussed at Dark Web Event (quoting Mr. Urbelis) (12 May 2016)
  • The Intercept, After a Century of Mass Government Surveillance, It’s Time for New Limits (22 September 2015)
  • Center for Terrorism Law , St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, The Legal and Ethical Limits of Active Defense Cyber Security, (19 March 2010) 
  • NY Daily News, Disabled Tenant Hauls Landlord Into Court (16 November 2010)
  • NY Post, Queens Landlord-Tenant Dispute Heads Towards Contempt Trial (16 November 2010)
  • University of Connecticut Journal of International Law, Rethinking Extraterritorial Prosecution in the War on Terror: Examining the Consequences of Extraterritorially Criminalizing the Provision of Material Support to Terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organizations (2007)
  • Vermont Law Review, Toward a More Equitable Prosecution of Cybercrime: Concerning Hackers, Criminals, and the National Security (2005)