In 2014, network engineer and ex-US Marine Bryan Seely made headlines when he was hailed a “hero” after he intercepted and recorded calls to the FBI and the Secret Service.
For years he has been trying to get Google’s attention about the security weaknesses on the location listings added to Google Maps. When they didn’t pay heed to his warnings, Seely took a big, bold step to get the tech giant to listen. He exploited a vulnerability in Google Maps’ verification process and established fake contact information for the FBI and Secret Service by replacing the numbers on the listings with his own phone numbers. He then routed the incoming calls to the correct numbers and recorded the conversations.
Seeley eventually took the information – and recordings – to the Secret Service office in Seattle, where he was read his Miranda rights and put in an interrogation room. After a few hours of questioning, Seely was then allowed to leave and the Special Agent in charge praised him for bringing this major security flaw to light.
Since then, Seely has enjoyed a growing career in the world of white hat hacking. He started his own company called Seely Security. He was also personally recruited by business mogul Mark Cuban, appointed to McAfee Global Technologies’ Hacker Advisory Board, and uncovered vulnerabilities in high visibility sites like LinkedIn.
During the sidelines of the recently held GISEC virtual conference, Seely candidly reflects on his career as an ethical hacker and cybersecurity advocate.
Can you tell me a bit about how you came about being an ethical hacker?
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