Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Video: Jack Daniel teaches us to drink hack responsibly


Nope, I’m not talking about the infamous whiskey maker being a hacker. But as you’ll soon find out, the Jack Daniel we are talking about is a bit of legend himself.

As mentioned in a previous post, Firebrand Training went to Miami for the annual Hacker Halted event hosted by EC-Council. The event aimed to raise awareness towards increased education and ethics in information security.

Jack Daniel IT SecurityHacker Halted featured many world-renowned experts and high-level speakers such as Jack Daniel himself, as well as some of the best technology companies showcasing their products and services.

Jack Daniel - pictured on the right - supports several information security and technology organisations and is also a technology activist. Mr Daniels co-founded the Security B-Sides events, where security enthusiasts gather, share and learn in an open environment (which has expanded to London - more on that below).

Hacker Halted provides the most sought after technical training and certification classes offered through Hacker Halted Academy by top training companies and led by well-respected instructors.

Firebrand caught up with 'the guy with the beard' at Hacker Halted, and he told us about the world of hacking and its social responsibility. Watch the interview below where you quickly find out that hackers are not just coming out from teenage bedrooms, but developing from the most surprising backgrounds.

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About Security B-Sides

Security B-Sides is a community-driven event built for and by information security community members. It is where conversations for the next-big-thing are happening and the Security B-Sides London team is bringing this back to London.

The volunteers for Security B-Sides London were inspired by the framework of the original Security B-Sides event in the USA which was co-founded by Jack Daniel himself. Security B-Sides events are free, community events organised by local individuals, with the express goal of enabling a platform for information dissemination.

Their next event in London is happening on April 24th 2013 Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall. For more information, visit:

Jack Daniel Interview Video Transcript:
My name is Jack Daniel. I'm the Technical Products Manager at Tenable Network Security. We're the folks that created Nessus and our line of enterprise vulnerability management and SIM tools. I'm here at Hacker Halted and I gave a talk yesterday on social responsibility in hacking.

I have a background of small business Network and Security Administrator, Systems Admin for many years. I got more and more involved in security as various things were broken into or compromised. Somehow I ended up, after starting my career as an auto mechanic many decades ago, I ended up as a security specialist, and have been in vendor space for the past five years or so at Astaro, which is now part of Sophos, and then I joined Tenable about a year and a half ago. I've been working in vulnerability management and SIM log analysis for the past year or so.

I'm here at Hacker Halted. The talk I gave yesterday was responsibility and reality. It's about the more human side of hacking, the more social responsibility side. It's interesting, and I think it's part of the culture, of those of us that consider ourselves hackers. Within the hacker culture definition, not the mainstream media definition of criminal, or cybercriminal, but within those of us who see ourselves as challenging things.

The progression that I use to define that is that I think there are some characteristics, even at an event like this, even at Defcon, people will get into an argument over the details and the semantics of it, but there are some things that are common. One of them, I think, is truly, curiosity. A child-like curiosity and sense of wonder and wanting to know how things work, and you like to push things to the limits. The realization that I had as I got into the hacker culture was that it was a lot like my background as a petrol head or gear head. I want to push things to the limit until they break. And then I want to fix it, but fix it better, so I can push it to the limit even farther.

So there's this cycle that I think that sums up a lot of hacking, which also sums up a lot of motor sports, which is break it, fix it, but improve as you fix, and then repeat that. Push it to the limit. Find what fails, solve that problem, and keep doing so. And the great thing is that in hacking, in this sense, as opposed to being a motor head, you don't get to the point that what breaks is you, because your brakes fail at 180 miles an hour.

That's sort of that mentality, and it gives us a lot of challenges, but some of the things that a lot of people believe that we owe each other a responsibility, and I happen to believe that. I think there are a lot of things, but one of the things I wanted to stress though is that a lot of people have challenges that keep them from being able to volunteer, donate, contribute back to the community, and that's okay.

I don't want to cause a guilt trip for anybody, but we do, especially for those of us who are fortunate enough to make a career out of information security, so even though it's not pure hacking, the information security aspects of hacking is what we do for a living. We tend to be well paid. We tend to work long hours. But we tend to be well paid and well-connected and get to travel and other things.

So I really believe that we have an obligation to contribute to that. And that's what I talked about. There are things that you can do, and one of the things, it's not all altruism. If you are part of the community, you gain visibility. One of the things that that get you is better career opportunities. People appreciate you. And no matter where you are, if anybody is interested enough to show up at an event like this, they know something that somebody else doesn't, and it may be at a Linux user group, or somewhere else, but there's somebody that can take advantage of that expertise or that skill set, and gain from it.

About the Author:
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, IT training, IT certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the IT industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.