Vitali Kremez, chairman and CEO of AdvIntel, has been found dead after going missing on Oct. 30. He was 36 years old.
The US Coast Guard announced on Wednesday that the body of the longtime security researcher and ethical hacker had been recovered from the sea, after days of searching along the Florida coast. He was last seen "wearing a black wetsuit and scuba tank while diving near Hollywood Beach, Fla.," according to the Coast Guard.
According to local reports, he went into the water around 9 a.m. EDT on Sunday, and did not return.
Peers, supporters, and admirers began offering condolences on Wednesday. "This is an incredibly heart-breaking loss for the world," tweeted Danny Aga, vice president at managed security provider Solis Security. "VK was a superhero and will be missed by many."
Kremez's career has been a storied one, with wunderkind overtones. After graduating summa cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York (CUNY), he enjoyed a successful career as a cybercrime investigative analyst for the New York County District Attorney’s Office. There, he partnered with federal and international law enforcement on a range of cybercrime busts, including prosecuting intrusions at American Express, Goldman Sachs, Saks Fifth Avenue, and StubHub.
He then quickly catapulted into a range of top-tier industry positions, including as head of SentinelLabs at SentinelOne, and director of advanced research at Flashpoint. In 2020, Kremez took the helm at Advanced Intelligence (AdvIntel), where he led an elite threat intelligence team and guided technology development to support proactive cyber-threat disruptions. Throughout it all, he has devoted himself to ethical hacking efforts, information-sharing, and malware research.
Kremez was also a prolific blogger and industry columnist (contributing articles to Dark Reading, BusinessReview, and Infosecurity Magazine, among others), and a go-to industry commentator on cybercrime, hacking incidents, and policy. He also delivered keynote presentations at NATO's 2018 summit and to the United Nations, and spoke regularly at cybersecurity industry events.
"My heart is broken for his family and for the great future he had," tweeted Gate 15 risk management analyst and podcaster Andy Jabbour. "He [was] such an incredibly smart and amazing person."