An Interview with Jack Daniel: Co-Founder of BSides!

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What Will You Learn From this Post?

  • You’ll learn about Jack Daniel! Jack is a highly respected veteran in the Cybersecurity Community;
  • You’ll learn why BSides is awesome and why you must get involved…

What Is BSides?

For those that don’t know, ‘Security BSides are ‘hacker conventions’ that provides a community driven framework for information security conferences around the world.

You can think of BSides as being an event organized by, and participated by, the community for the community.

Co-founded by Mike Dahn, Jack Daniel, and Chris Nickerson in 2009. The original concept came about following Black Hat 2009 when an large number of presentations (Call For Papers) that were rejected were delivered to a smaller group of individuals. Over time this concept of providing the community with a platform begun to spread – and has since gone global!


Useful Fact:

We also have a dedicated page that lists all global BSides Events where you can find your local chapter. The homepage for BSides is here where you can find further information on the events.


Click Here For Your Local BSides Events

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Am I correct in thinking that naming the events ‘BSides’ was a reference to the music industry in that when we bought a vinyl record or a cassette (pre-mp3) the ‘B Side’ was always the alternative mix? Or am I completely wrong!

You are correct, the name came from the “B Side” of 45rpm singles and various BSides events have used images of records and tapes to show the link.


Did you and your other co-founders think that BSides would have grown so fast and to so many countries?

We weren’t sure we would do anything other than the first one. One of the founders, Mike Dahn, had been talking about a new style of event for security, but none of us thought the first one was more than an experiment.

We certainly didn’t expect the rapid expansion and global reach that BSides has gained.


How would you like to see BSides evolve?

I would like to see BSides continue to grow and expand in under-served communities.

The big events are great gathering places for our communities, but the smaller regional events often have a significant impact for people and communities which never get a real community-focused event.

One of the greatest strengths of BSides is that it is highly decentralized and locally organized, so like the events themselves BSides will evolve as the communities and organizers want.


I see that you’re a co-presenter on a very awesome show on YouTube Show with Paul Asadoorian called Security Weekly. Aside from that, what’s the best way for people to follow you? Is Twitter the best? (@jack_daniel)

Yes, Twitter is probably best, @jack_daniel.

[Here is the link to the YouTube Show: Security Weekly]


And, lastly, can you give a tip to our community with regards to speaking at a BSide event, in other words, what makes a ‘good talk’ rather than just an ‘average one’.

Relax, practice, and plan to engage and interact with the audience. BSides don’t have attendees, we have participants, everyone is encouraged to join the conversations.

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In Summary

BSides is awesome. We have a dedicated page to Global BSides Events here and we also include them in our main Cybersecurity Conference Directory when requested by the organizers.