Alexander J. Urbelis is a writer, attorney, radio and media personality, as well as a self-described hacker. He has been affiliated with information security since the mid-90s, worked for the federal government in both defense and intelligence, and held posts as a private practice attorney with a major international law firm and an international luxury conglomerate. He is currently a partner in the Blackstone Law Group in New York, and CEO of a separate information security consultancy, Black Chambers Inc.
As a writer, Urbelis has published several pieces with CNN and The Intercept on the subjects of ransomware, information security, and the ethics and history of mass surveillance. He also published a widely acclaimed op-ed for CNN entitled, ‘How '1984' can decode Trump's first 100 days.’ This article was republished by Riverdale Avenue Books in a work entitled, '1984 in the 21st Century: An Anthology of Essays', and read aloud in its entirety during Pacifica Radio’s national broadcast of the full text of 1984 on June 27, 2017. Other published writings include scholarly essays on the extraterritorial prosecution of the financing of terrorism, the prosecution of cybercrime, and revenge porn.
Urbelis is also a correspondent for the Oxford-Martin Cybersecurity Capacity Portal, a pioneering and interdisciplinary research center of the University of Oxford.
Radio and media
Urbelis is a regular participant on the hacker-focused radio show, Off The Hook, that airs weekly on Pacific Radio’s WBAI 99.5fm in New York City, which is also distributed weekly in podcast form. Additionally, Urbelis has been featured on CNN discussing information security as far back as 2000, and is often called upon by the media to opine on matters both technical and legal.
Noteworthy recent interviews of Urbelis include CNBC's Nightly Business Report, CBC’s On The Money program featuring Urbelis discussing the WannaCry / WannaCrypt ransomware event, a series of interviews on election hacking with BRIC TV, and a nationally syndicated broadcast of an interview with Urbelis on Coast to Coast AM with radio personality Mike Siegel.
Education and career
Alexander J. Urbelis holds the BCL from New College, University of Oxford, where he served as Editor of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal, a JD, magna cum laude, from Vermont Law School, where held the position of Technology Editor of the Vermont Law Review, and a BA, summa cum laude, in Philosophy from Stony Brook University.
Urbelis’ federal service includes work as a graduate fellow in the Office of General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Army JAG Corps, Dartmouth College’s Institute for Security, Technology, and Society, and clerking for Chief Judge Andrew S. Effron of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Urbelis was also an associate in the New York and Washington offices of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Thereafter, Urbelis was in-house information security counsel and later became Chief Compliance Officer of luxury group Richemont, which includes Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, and Alfred Dunhill.
He is currently a partner in the Blackstone Law Group and CEO of a separate information security consultancy, Black Chambers Inc. Urbelis is experienced trial lawyer, having recently successfully prosecuted two cases to trial in state and federal court in NY.
Urbelis has worked on several high-profile pro bono matters involving human and civil rights, including the Supreme Court representation of U.S. service members and civilians captured during the first Gulf War and tortured by the Iraqi Intelligence Service. He was also involved in the appeal of Teresa Lewis, the first woman executed by the State of Virginia in nearly 100 years, and has successfully argued for Convention Against Torture protection before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a potential deportee to Nigeria. Urbelis also represented Rosemary Shelton in a housing court matter in Queens County, during which he uncovered a rampant mortgage fraud scandal that was covered by the NY Post, Daily News, and Queens Chronicle.
Urbelis was selected as a member of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Security Council for the term of 2017 - 2020. In addition, Urbelis is a member of the Privacy Research Group, which is associated with the Information Law Institute of New York University, as well as a member of the Internet Society, the Internet Society NY Chapter, and holds Observer status in GIGANET, the Global Internet Governance Academic Network.
Urbelis lives in New York City and is married to Efrat Sternberg-Urbelis, a felony prosecutor for the Bronx District Attorney’s office who focuses on crimes against children, sex crimes, and domestic violence.
- "CNN Transcript - Business Unusual: Connecticut Art School Learns Business Lessons; Argus Systems Offers Ultimate Internet Security; Indian Entrepreneur Designs World- Class Cars - March 11, 2001". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
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