Mike Jones is someone I have been aware of for a wee while now since I heard him talking at an event which I spoke about previously here = a-hacker-a-ciso-and-a-policeman-event/, as you do I friended on LinkedIn as I was genuinely interested in finding out more about him, what I kept seeing on the social media platform was posts and comments that I found really interesting and insightful.
From there I searched on google and done some research (how professional am I getting) and I found out more about Mike AKA the ex-hacktivist (sting3r) which was captivating, it was like a story you would hear in Darknet Diaries or one that could become a book.
Ex-military who was in Iraq, Ex-Hacktivist and member of Anonymous, works at performing red team assessments, Pentesting for governments, major financial institutions, casinos and more.
USJFCOM (U.S. Joint Forces Command) were the parent command and the compound he was on, he was stationed at JFIC (joint forces intelligence command) and was Di5 (Defence Intelligence) where he did signal intelligence.
After getting out of the military he was a dod contractor at USJFCOM in the CND cell (computer network defence cell) where he did CNA.
I would genuinely love to sit down for a few drinks and just pick his brain and listen to stories but I will settle for these questions in the meantime, enjoy…
I had a look through your LinkedIn and it shows the first employment as ‘Joint Forces Intelligence Command’ which I have just been reading about online and sounds totally fascinating especially as you were in early days after it was formed, was this your into Cyber Security\Hacking\InfoSec etc or was you into all of that at a younger age?
I’ve always been interested in hacking. It started off taking electronics apart as a young child and learning what make things tick.
Keeping in the USJFCOM, what kind of stuff were you doing?
USJFCOM I started out as an InfoSec analyst looking over several DoD networks for attacks etc. At JFIC I can’t really go into.
It was at an event that I first became aware of you and although your skills are more technical in the likes of penetration testing and such is the speaking at events something that is becoming more prevalent?
I was really surprised my speaking was received as well as it was. My story I guess is somewhat unique to most people. Here it is a year later and it’s gone by so quick.
I read somewhere also that you had a background in cryptology, I am fascinated by this, was it through work you got interested or a personal interest?
I did cryptology in the military. I was signal intelligence and specialized in breaking down anything with RF capabilities as well as identification of weapons and radar systems.
Let’s talk about Anonymous, you used the hacker moniker sting3r (you maybe still do), how did you get involved with the famous hacktivist group?
Sting3r was a moniker I used long before anonymous. It actually started back in the days of netsky. I got involved with anonymous after leaving the military. How that occurred is probably something I shouldn’t dive into.
I don’t know if you have read the site about my journey into this InfoSec and stuff but if you had to set out a quick plane for someone like Networking > Linux > CTF’s etc what would you recommend?
Learn on your own…read….research….set up your own servers and take them apart. There are tons of sites and services offering a cyber range to test your hacking skills.
You are an American but have been based in the UK for a while now, how did that come about and is that you now set to stay?
I’ve been in the UK most of this year. I’m settled in the UK. The reception here has been amazing and I’m pretty lucky to have made the friends I have.
It’s been a busy year for you by the looks of it from the outside, what have you been up to and what is the plan for the coming future?
This year has been non-stop! The future is very bright. Look for a tokenization company called Vortrex to help in the cyber realm. I am partnered with Sapphire as far as the speaking engagements go and they have been like family.
Out of curiosity, what is your view of Anonymous now in this day in age, its clearly not the same group but how do you think it’s changed?
Anonymous seems to be slowly drifting back to our original ideology but it will take some time. I do not believe in taking cyber disputes physical and that is one factor that drove me away.
Last one is maybe more advice to me as well as a question I think the readers would be interested in, I am 41 years old and working as a Desktop Support Specialist with over a decade of IT experience, am I too old to make the jump to working in InfoSec full time and if no what advice would you give in making it a reality from someone who works in it?
Nobody is ever too old. I try and learn something new every day. To be honest with you I’m not sure what I’d be doing if I hadn’t discovered a gift I had. The community is so small and it’s more of a family to me. Chris Roberts, Tom Ryan and Ralph echemendia were some of my friends I met when I started out in the industry….it’s the people who keep me going. The community has some of the brightest minds and biggest hearts.