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From the Marines to Hacking the Government with Bryan Seely
Episode 214th November 2021 • Before It Happened • Donna Loughlin
00:00:00 00:42:19

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Sometimes, we all need a wake up call, and after hitting rock bottom the only way to go is up. In this episode of Before IT Happened, our host Donna Loughlin sits down with Bryan Seely, ethical hacker and in demand thought leader on cyber security, to talk about his fascinating upbringing, his recovery from addiction, and how and why he hacked the Secret Service just to prove a point. From homeless addict to TED Talk speaker and author, Bryan knows a thing or two about transformation and confidence. Tune in now and be ready to get inspired!

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life. 


(03:06) - Growing up in Tokyo - “You don't fit in in the same way that you fit in here by looks, but people quickly understand that that's what you consider home.”

(07:49) - Life after the Marines - “There's lots of boredom at night when you're not with a military unit, so I ended up finding other military units to hang out with and play cards.”

(11:40) - On Bryan’s addiction, complicated marriage, and the famous McDonald’s incident - “I made a bunch of funny listings to try and get some attention. The Mormon temple became a comedy club, the Church of Scientology became a comedy club, a Russian embassy in the United Kingdom became a gay bar... a bunch of really fairly inappropriate immature type humor that I stand by!”

(18:48) - Messing with the FBI and the Secret Service to prove a point - “It was definitely intense. It felt more like excitement rather than panic or nervousness, because I was being honest and they didn't catch me. I'm trying to convince them there's a problem and they're rejecting it.”

(26:55) - Resetting the narrative: How ethical hacking transformed Bryan’s life completely - “Cyber security and protecting people is definitely my day-to-day and I love doing it. I like protecting people or helping educate people to give them the tools they can do for themselves.”

(31:13) - On prevention culture and what makes the cyber security market such a hot spot - “The criminals elevate their game and you have to elevate your game to match it and then show people, ‘Okay, this is why it's important.’”

(36:18) - A life with no regrets - “It’s impossible to know the butterfly effect of changing things. The lessons I learned by hitting rock bottom? You can’t buy them with any amount of money.”


Connect with Bryan at, on Twitter, and LinkedIn

Watch Bryan’s TEDx Talk: Wiretapping the Secret Service can be easy and fun

Read Bryan Seely’s book Cyber Fraud: The Web of Lies: US Marine Risks Life in Prison To Expose a Cybercrime That Consumers Know Nothing About

Watch Bryan’s Cyber Security Keynote Speaker Highlight Reel

Read Seattle Business’s This Hacker Wears a White Hat

Read the Valley Wag’s How a Hacker Intercepted FBI and Secret Service Calls With Google Maps

Thank you for listening! Follow Before IT Happened on Instagram and Twitter, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate and share the show wherever you listen to podcasts! 

Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by Nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.