Post Black Hat / Def Con Q&A With Jack Rhysider from Darknet Diaries

By: Jennifer Ellard

Hacker Summer Camp is now safely in our rearview mirror, and what a week it was. From the corporate zoo that was Black Hat, to the wild west of Def Con 27, to some great side-events like the Diana InitiativeBSides Las Vegas, and Queercon, the cybersecurity scene in Las Vegas did not disappoint.

Cmd was there in force. With over a third of our company in attendance it was a great opportunity for us to spend time with both customers and those who soon will be customers, as well as to network with practitioners and vendors alike. One thing is becoming clear: Linux security is a growing need, and there is a real lack of adequate server-class solutions out there. Cmd is in the right place at the right time.

The highlight of this trip, however, was Thursday afternoon when Jack Rhysider, host of the incredibly popular Darknet Diaries podcast, joined us in the cabana for a bit. There were over 200 people who signed up just to meet him, and the Cmd cabana was buzzing with activity for hours. The sheer delight on people’s faces when they came up and introduced themselves was so heartwarming… it’s moments like that when you appreciate how strong a community we have here in cyber.

I thought it would be interesting to ask Jack a few questions about his experiences during the week, so without further ado, here’s my Q&A with Jack Rhysider from Darknet Diaries:

Q: What was the highlight of your trip to Black Hat and Def Con?

Jack: For me the highlight was meeting as many people as I could. I met so many amazing people doing such great work in the security space. And it’s always astonishing to hear how people from such respected organizations listen to my show and like it. The podcast is apparently reaching people in InfoSec companies all over, which is just remarkable to hear. Such as high rise companies in downtown New York, or celebrities, or policy makers. Some of the fans that stood out were 2 different people I met under 16 who listen to the show and a group of women from Kenya who came to Def Con and are big fans.

Q: With the momentum around your podcast, how has this year’s Black Hat / Def Con experience been different than in prior years?

Jack: Last year I had to really hit the halls hard with stickers and try to get the word out. This year people were coming to me and know who I am now. So it feels like I’ve gotten the word out enough at this point, which is exciting. And meeting the fans of the show is such a wonderful experience. It’s just so exciting to do something creative and people appreciate what I’ve made.

Q: I imagine you’ve learned a lot more about the security industry than you ever expected through the interviews you’ve conducted for Darknet Diaries. Are there any stories that you are surprised more people don’t know about?

Jack: There’s so many stories I come across that I’m surprised I never heard about. And when I look them up they are big stories. I’m excited to cover a few future episodes such as the story about the XBox hackers, Operations Socialist, and Project Raven. All of which got huge press but I never got the memo. So now I’ll be able to tell others about it too.

Q: How has your podcast changed your own career?

Jack: I podcast about InfoSec which is what I spent my career focused on. During this I had to learn how to be an ethical reporter, research information better, and learn how to market. All of which are great skills to have. I’ve been able to quit my job in InfoSec to focus on podcasting full time which has certainly affected my career too.

Q: When we get together again at Def Con 28 in 12 month’s time, what do you think people will be talking about?

Jack: The election will be closer then so I’m sure we’ll be talking about it and how voting machine are still being used that are insecure. I hope companies will start learning that data is a liability and to not collect it as much as they are now. Giving users the ability to opt out in a much easier way or to not collect unneeded data at all.

I’d like to thank Jack once again for all his help and the time he spent with us, and on behalf of all Jack’s fans thank you for publishing such an industry-defining podcast. Please go check out Darknet Diaries, and when you are ready for cutting-edge Linux securitygive Cmd a try.

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