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When most people get bored, they break out Clash of Clans or ponder the inevitable heat death of the universe. When Bryan Seely got bored, he wiretapped the federal government from a McDonald’s wi-fi network.
Seely says he was sitting at the burger joint while his 5-year-old played with the other kids in the playground. The former marine had been thinking about a vulnerability in Google Maps that he and others had been trying to get the search giant to patch for years. He decided to raise the stakes by getting the FBI and Secret Service involved against their will.
What he was about to do would gain the attention of John McAfee, Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, and the White House.
It would also get him arrested.
When Bryan Seely got bored, he wiretapped the federal government from a McDonald’s wi-fi network.
By exploiting a vulnerability in Google Maps’ verification process, Seely established fake contact information for the FBI and Secret Service using his own phone numbers on the listings. He then routed incoming calls to the correct numbers, but not before setting up the means to record these conversations.
He managed to record two ostensibly private conversations to these organizations.
Seely says that shortly after this he was cuffed, patted down, read his Miranda rights, and hustled to an interrogation room. After a few hours, the special agent in charge of his arrest called him a “hero” for bringing such a dangerous exploit to light, and Seely was released.
Of the vulnerability, Seely said:
Who is gonna think twice about what Google publishes on their maps? Everyone trusts Google implicitly and it’s completely unwarranted AND it’s completely unsafe. I could make a duplicate of the White House and take every inbound phone call from the White House. I could do it for every Senator, every Congressman, every mayor, every governor—every Democratic, every Republican candidate. Every office.
Although the vulnerability had been known by Google since at least 2012, the company quickly patched it in the aftermath of Seely’s demonstration.
Since then, Seely has enjoyed a growing career in the world of white hat hacking. He started his own company, Seely Security, was appointed to McAfee Global Technologies’ Hacker Advisory Board, and has uncovered vulnerabilities in high visibility sites like LinkedIn.
Over the last two years, Seely has given Ted Talks, been featured in Wired and CNNMoney, and occasionally offer his expert opinion regarding security issues for media outlets like NBC.
But as of last week, Seely has starting something new: teaching people to do what he does.
If you’re interested in learning how to hack the way the big dogs do it, Udemy is currently running a site-wide sale that knocks Seely’s course, normally $200, down to just $19. There’s no promo code required to get this discount on “The Ultimate Ethical hacking Boot Camp: Beginner to Pro.”
Click below for more details!
See also: the best of Udemy's November sale
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