Want a heads up when a new story drops? Subscribe here.
For the episode audio, please check out our podcast page.
Brian Steely is a cybersecurity expert, former US Marine, ethical hacker, keynote speaker, on air contributor to CNBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, and affiliates to Dr. Oz Show, TMZ and other major media publications and channels. He also has done a TEDx talk: Wiretapping the Secret Service and has a book on Amazon: Cyber Fraud: The Web of Lies.
The Wayfair Controversy
The IRS is getting enough revenue to look at what’s in trucks and as it comes to such conspiracy theories – it just wouldn’t work.
I know that a lot of the child trafficking stuff shifted from airlines to private transportation because airlines aren’t the most economical way of doing it. But the second people start turning into social justice warriors and being like: “Тhat little girl looks like she’s in trouble, I’m white. I’m going to go save the day and interject myself into their life.” they’ve got it all wrong.
Trying to save a kid from human trafficking, is definitely a way to go. But it’s also a way to traumatize a kid who’s dropped their ice cream and they’re from a different country. So you have no idea what the facial cues are. That’s not the American way.
International Child Trafficking Schemes: How Does It Work
It used to work like they put bunches of people on boats. And that’s how we got the whole slavery issue everywhere. People were traded to us. It was farming people. And it’s really, really horrible.
But when put in a position of seeking only money and power it gradually turns into two, it turns into five. You become this monster without having to take that first step. It’s something subtle. It’s one little compromise here, one little compromise there. If you’re on the right path and you’re doing what you know is supposed to be the right thing, chances are, it’s one of those work-now-get-paid-later sort of deals.
And it doesn’t feel bad when you’re doing it. You could kill that part of you or at least breastfeed it for a while.
Albert Einstein once said: “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it and who doesn’t pays it.”
It doesn’t suddenly just get better. It’s always something bigger or more difficult, a bigger payoff. You want that endorphins. You want the adrenaline rush. It’s the same with cocaine. It’s the same with meth. It’s the same for heroin. It’s the same for gambling.
If there’s a 12 step meeting associated with whatever hobby you think you want to start, don’t do it. There’s no quilting a 12-step program.
Who Is In Charge of Human Trafficking
The people who are running these things, I wouldn’t say anyone is unsaveable, but they know what they’re doing is wrong. They don’t care. They’re way past the point of caring. It’s the patrons or it’s the guys at the lowest sort of runs. Those are the recruits and they’re the ones who end up moving their way up the ladder. If there was no one to take over, the business would die out. But there’s always seeming to be people interested in underaged girls.
The Epstein Child Trafficking Case
I don’t think Epstein’s ego would have allowed him to work for somebody. He was pretty transparent about everything he was trying to get done. He was getting away with it for so long, he thought he was untouchable.
Donald Trump’s standing next to him in a photo is not an indictment of Donald Trump. Neither is that of Joe Biden. It isn’t good for business, but it’s still not an indictment. If you want to say anyone who’s flought on his plane is probably a dirt bag that would be an overstatement.
I get what people are trying to conclude that anyone who associates with that guy is an accomplice, but sometimes people just don’t know. That’s what you do when you do that kind of thing: you’ll lie to cover it up.
The Cyemptive Project
I’ve dedicated my time on speaking, educating, and I’m working for a company called Cyemptive. I don’t even know how to start explaining them. My direct boss has been working at the NSA for 35 years. I have a great leadership team.
Basically Cyemptive’s products defend your router, desktop server against hackers in the fact that if they get in it immediately rolls to a new version of the operating system that does not have the hacker in it. The hacker is still in the old one playing around, getting stuck and the system will eventually kick them out. And now you’re seamless, continuing on with your work. No hacker.
Google Local Search Results Are Easy to Manipulate
So I was calling Google, telling them they have a problem: I can manipulate their local listings. And they’re like: “No, you can’t. We’re Google,who you’re you?”
They were kind of arrogant, so I said I can prove it. So I proved it with Komo News. They got it on tape of me changing the Library of Congress on Google Maps to the Edward School of Kids Who Can’t Read Good. It was like the front video on their website.
Hacking FBI’s Map Listing To Prove Google Has Weak Spots
The next day I took an ATM in Seattle. I added a phone number to that ATM. Most of the fake ATMs don’t need phone numbers, but because the business already existed on the map, it didn’t require a new verification, it didn’t require a postcard, it didn’t require a phone number. It was like: “Oh, well, you’re just making modifications. No big deal.”
So I took the ATM, added a phone number, then changed the address of the ATM to the secret service office in DC, added some secret service photos out of their website. And the phone number was a telemarketing inbound call number. Calls will be recorded for quality assurance purposes and forwarded to wherever I choose. How about the switchboard of the secret service?
And then I flagged the real one as a fake from a whole bunch of different people. Me pretending to be a whole bunch of different people. And then all of a sudden phone calls started coming in because I hadn’t anticipated that they probably get three to four calls a minute. I ended up listening to 2 and having 40.
I called a few friends, two FBI agents who I know from the Marines. And then two local cops, because I wasn’t going to go to the secret service and say: “Hey, here’s all the evidence I brought”
So they didn’t believe me right away. They asked me to leave.I told them: “If I can’t prove it to you in like a minute, I’ll leave. But first call the DC office of the secret service right now. Just call him.”
The guy pulls out a cell phone and just does this and puts it up to his ear. I got a notification on their phone. So that was the David Blaine, David Copperfield moment where you’re hoping it works out. The only way it would work is if you used Google to search for Secret Service Washington, DC. I didn’t hack the phone system. I just made him look at the wrong thing.
And I played back the message on speaker and now we all heard it. They left and they took all my stuff and they gave me a form to sign that I understand my rights. It took me four hours of explaining and repeatedly showing how I did what I did.
The Implications of Hacking Google on a Mass Scale
Congressmen banks, attorneys, it wasn’t fixed like a year after Google said it was fixed. So I showed that to Congressman Ted Lieu and the Head of Communications at The Congress, Tom Scott.
I asked Ted Lieu to call his office and we’re going to hear his office line pickup. And he’s like: “Yeah, nothing’s weird. I don’t understand.” So then I asked him to do it again. And I swapped the destinations of what they thought was his office. And then my phone answered. I’m like: “Yeah, Ted Lieu’s Tattoos.” And the guy’s like: “Oh no, this is, oh, oh” – they’ve put two and two together.
And this is still not solved by Google. Google said it was solved, but it is not solved.
It’s not an easy problem to solve either because the verification process is kind of flimsy because we don’t enforce it. It’s state to state. It’s all different. Who validates whether your business is legal: secretary of state, department of labor?
Not that I’m proposing more centralized databases, but this is one of those cases where it would be handy to know if that dentist is no longer licensed or if any of those practitioners listed on Google were even real.
I did an interview with a lady who called the locksmith that she found on Google maps. He shows up, does all the locks. Finds out she’s going on vacation. She leaves, she comes back from the vacation and her house is empty. And the listing on the maps is gone. What’d you do at that point? You can’t prosecute that.
Preventive Measures Against Getting Your Computer Hacked
Update your software every week. Every time it asks. It’s not annoying, it’s necessary. It is a vaccine to protect against something that they’ve discovered in the wild.
There’s constantly a battle between good and evil. If the bystanders and the casualties of war would stop making it worse, it might actually get better.
If you asked 10 years ago: “What two-factor authentication was?” – lots of people would not know what we are talking about.
You can fake all the videos now and the voice and the face. And it’s totally believable.
Don’t download stuff that you didn’t set out to go download. Don’t go to pirating sites to try and get the new movie that came out, or some new software – that’s where they put all the viruses.
If you didn’t seek it out, don’t click on it. Don’t click on links in your emails, type it out on a different screen, figure some other way to do it because that’s how they get you. They can make the text look like it’s going to the right place. They can make it look like it’s going to the right website.
What Happens When They Hack Your Computer
Once they’ve got your computer, they can have it for years.
They can take your credit card numbers. They don’t use them. The second you renew them they wait a little while, they sell them on the dark web.
Now you can go and buy How-to-guides to game the unemployment departments all across the United States. You can go buy information of people with their social and their birthdate and their phone number and their address and their name, plug it all in to the website for the employment security department and get their unemployment benefits. Even if they’re not unemployed, super handy.
Otherwise it’s just the $1,200 cash advance that people got. It’s their own money that they’re just being loaned early. Right?
The Marine Background
I’ve always had a computer in the house. I was always trying to play more games or do more stuff or break it and find some way to irritate my dad and make him spend more money. But ultimately it turned into a, whatever this is: my style, maybe.
I was born in Tokyo. My parents we’re allowed to live in Japan because they’ve got college degrees. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. My dad was working in sales for PPG, which is an American company that does paint glass for auto manufacturers, huge company. He quit and started becoming, I guess, what you would call a missionary working at a private Christian school, volunteering church, same with my mom.
So she was teaching art and was the librarian for the Christian Academy in Japan. I graduated high school at 17 from the same Christian Academy. So a good majority of my upbringing was in Tokyo.
I couldn’t stay and work without a college degree. It’s kind of like, you gotta leave, come back when you’re successful and you can like get a job and be a normal person again.
I came back to central Michigan. Ended up partying too much, not being super responsible, joining the Marine Corps and was a linguist, went to Monterey, stayed there for two years and then spent about two years in Iraq with various contractors and military. And I worked with the Japanese military for a bit about four or five miles from where Abraham.
Joining the Marines was really intense. You go in through this bootcamp, some of the guys said it wasn’t as hard as football practice physically.
But mentally. You’re so stressed out, you don’t know what’s going on. Some people break under the stress. Some people will get recycled, they put them back further in training and they give them a little chance to recuperate. People break legs. People have stress fractures in their feet. I lost 75 pounds in 94 days.
Normally you need cocaine if you’re in Hollywood for getting that much weight off. But yeah, we were just running with big packs in the sun, in the desert in the summer, forever. Three quarters of a pound every day of weight lost. And I was eating every day.
My parents didn’t recognize me when I was in Japan as the only white guy getting off the train, carrying military, seabags looking at my parents and they were like: “Where’s he?” It couldn’t be any more obvious, but I was that skinny. They didn’t even know who I was.
After the Marines I had a bunch of money saved and I had no idea what to do. I knew drugs were fun and alcohol was fun. There’s levels of drugs, but no one really explains it. It’s just based on a high schoolers’ perspective: if I can get this, then it must be fairly okay. But if I can’t get something that must be because it’s special.
How many 11th graders have crazy expensive designer drugs?. They just don’t because they can’t afford it. They don’t have jobs. Well, when you have tons of money that you’ve been saving up and you’ve got nothing to spend it on it goes pretty quick and you develop this really, solid foundation of cocaine and alcohol to just destroy your life. So battling addiction was the next chapter.
My ex wife identified as gay when I met her. We got divorced and people were often like: “Well, you didn’t know when you met her.” And I’d be like: “Yeah, I did. Yeah. That was stupid.”
We got clean, had a kid, got married in Vegas a couple months later in 2008. Things didn’t go well.
We both ended up relapsing. We struggled getting clean. I ended up getting clean March 13th, 2013, and don’t really know what her side of the equation.
During one of the kid’s swaps she got pregnant again. So that was Declan. He was born 12, 13, 14, and both of them, well, one’s at daycare and the other one’s upstairs.
I got custody after Devin was born. I was consulting and had given my Ted talk in 2014, he was born at the end of 2014, fast forward to Decklin being almost a year old, getting him in Piper. She was seven. Aurora was my stepdaughter in marriage. I hadn’t seen her in a while. She’s at that point full on drug addiction with ivory heroin usage and it was problematic.
So the state ended up putting her into group homes. She asked to come live with me and live with her siblings. I said, yes, that worked for a little while. She went to a short rehab, came back.
Seeing Your Daughter on Backpage
My mom got sick Thanksgiving day. A little over three years ago, she had a headache one day. And then they took her to the Japanese hospital nearby and found a brain tumor. I think that was a little bit hard for Laura because she was actually really close with my mom and my dad. She likes my parents.
So Aurora relapsed. She was dispirited and didn’t know where she was. I ended up finding her on BackPage. The FBI got involved because she was under 18. She was 16 that’s considered a federal crime for trafficking minors. And they had a whole task force of people who are super pissed off and good with computers.
And they go in and try and track down this kid. And usually they, they do fairly well for themselves I guess, but they don’t really advertise success rates.
I wasn’t real good with just sort of letting other people go and look for my kid. So I spent a month looking for her. There were some moments where I felt this was a really dumb idea, but I decided I’m going to do it anyways. I didn’t have any choice. There were nights at three o’clock in the mornings I was, walking downtown Seattle in some of the worst areas, walking up to the only people on the street who are not really caring about anybody, and be like: “ Have you seen this girl?”
She was gone for a month. I ended up tracking her down to a house just North Seattle. I used reverse phone searches and addresses. And the babysitter that I had at the time I had her call the number back pretending to be one of Aurora’s friends. So that the guy who picks up the phone doesn’t hear a dude’s voice.
Then she texted me that she was in the house. I was standing out front at this point waiting on a buddy of mine, and then he decided to call the police in two hours, two hours or so later she was taken to Seattle Children’s and then to my house for a couple of weeks, while they waited for a bed date at a really long rehab.
And I flew my ex-mother-in-law from California to help supervise the kids and I promptly fell apart. Like I remember the night, but my friend whom I still see to this day, said: “Yeah, you weren’t really there.” Like, it was just complete autopilot, and when I found her, the autopilot kind of ended.
So with her situation, it was a local, it was either a guy who just had a bunch of money or whatever the circumstances were. It wasn’t into an organization that has a mechanism. It was a local, I mean there’s greed and there’s people willing to buy underage girls locally, everywhere. Every local has it. That’s kind of depressing.
She started off being advertised on Backpage. So all of her photos had different phone numbers or different bits of texts. So like five, three blonde, 185 pounds space comma, and you can take that string and then copy it and figure out, okay, this isn’t even her. It’s some other dude advertising this other girl with the exact same text. So is somebody lazy and copying or somebody managing all these accounts in this area. And then all you’re doing is copying and pasting on the internet until they do it.
Backpage as a Girl Trafficking Source
Backpage got shut down during that time period. It is awful to actually to know that somebody could buy or rent another person at all.
That’s getting quite a bit of attention now where I guess they’re hijacking other marketplaces and doing similar things. I want to be able to help those types of things. But I feel like if you get burned by a certain kind of poison, you can tolerate it. And then it is the second time when it really gets to you. That world it it’s really toxic. It’s very hard to pull yourself out of mentally from how awful it is. I need to be careful.
Usually to get in contact with such types of “sellers” you have to call a phone number. He would tell me where to go: if she was at a hotel or if she was traveling, like being mobile. But usually the ones that are in hotels, not moving are the ones that are doped up really, really badly.
Get In Touch with Bryan
You can find my phone number at my website Bryanseely.com or at my LinkedIn profile page.
I’ve made myself pretty easy to find. I like to help people when I can. But I’m not gonna hack your husband’s or your wife’s phone because you think they’re cheating. Let me save you some time. Get marriage counseling. If that’s not going to help get out, you’re never going to build trust again if you hack your partner’s phone. And you shouldn’t go after their phone asking me to do so – it is a crime.