The first AMA interview via Mark Cuban’s Cyberdust Messaging App

The first AMA interview via Mark Cuban’s Cyberdust Messaging App

Cyberdust has been growing quite rapidly for sometime now, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. The Cyberdust team has brilliant engineers, great leadership, as well has having an excellent product that is easy to use. Not many apps get designed from the ground up with end user privacy and security in mind. Even fewer have the Mark Cuban brand name associated with it.

Yesterday was an exciting day, as Cyberdust had its first official AMA style interview where users of Cyberdust could ask questions to a selected person on the platform on the +AskMeAnything account. Since I had just released my first book the day prior and had been an early adopter / user of Cyberdust, it made sense to do an AMA to talk about cyber security, hacking and anything else people wanted to know.

Most websites that host ama style interviews will show all the questions and answers (like Reddit) and this can be a great way to answer questions publicly. I am all for having an open forum, but there was something unique about being able to respond to people candidly and without fear of having your answers seen by the entire world.

Let me walk you through the experience.

The community manager, Grace, gave me the login and password for the Cyberdust +Askmeanything account the night before. Grace then announced the AMA event about an hour before it started, and I logged in at 10am PST and sent out a blast notifying users that I was ready for whatever questions they wanted answers to.  I did provide my name, bio information, and what I do for a living, as well as announcing the launch of my book on Amazon.com the day prior.

People that followed that account (about 400,000) then received that blast message and many started sending questions to me. This is where things got interesting. I had no idea how many people were going to be interested in chatting, and before i knew it, I had been typing for 5, almost 6 hours straight without so much as leaving my chair.  If I had to guess, there were over 800 people who asked questions, many of whom asked more than one.

I wanted to share with you some of the questions that were asked, as well as my answers, so that people who missed the event can potentially get answers to questions they might have as well. I’ll start with the most common questions that were asked.

Question 1. Who killed JFK – More than 20 people asked this question. You all thought you were the only ones, didn’t you.
Answer: My default answer was usually something sarcastic, like Jack Bauer or Sterling Archer.

Question 2. Are we really being hacked by China? 
Answer: Since I don’t work for the federal government, I can’t comment with 100% certainty that they perpetrated one hack in particular. Sources in nearly every story regarding the OPM breach say yes, it was China.  You can watch a real time hacking map of the world at Norse.com

Question 3. Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? – Again, 10+ people asked this. I was surprised that so many people asked the same obscure question.
Answer: I answered, under Yankee Stadium.

Question 4. What are your best tips to avoid being hacked?
Answer:

  1. Strong Passphrases, not passwords. These are easier to remember so you don’t have to write them down on a sticky note. Think “Icantdancetosavemylife!!!” or “Canjetfuelmeltsteelbeams?”  not 7&6^5%ridiculous@#$6(*.   No way you are gonna remember the complicated one, and writing passwords down is the worst thing you can do.
  2. Get a VPN for all surfing outside of your home. Many people bring laptops to coffee shops, and if so, USE A VPN. They are roughly 7-10$ a month. Here is a link to many of the best rated ones. Pick one. They are simple to install.
  3. Use full disk encryption. TrueCrypt is still better than nothing, and there are alternatives. 

Question 5. What is your book about? / Why did you wiretap the Secret Service?
Answer: Here is a short interview I did on King 5 news here in Seattle that discusses the book I just wrote and the reason why I did what I did.

Question 6. Where do I start to learn how to be an ethical hacker? 
Answer: You can find Certified Ethical Hacking videos on youtube, or videos to prep you for the CISSP exam. Both of those certifications are highly desirable, and you will learn a lot by watching boot camp / tutorials.

There were many other questions, and I will try to remember more if people want. You don’t have to feel like you missed out however, you can always add me on cyberdust at +bryanthemapsguy and ask me a question anytime, or email me. I’m on Linkedin.com, twitter, so there really is no excuse for not being able to reach me.

It was a lot of fun answering questions on Cyberdust, and I was still answering questions until 10-11pm although very few people were asking by that point. It was an honor to be able to do the first official AMA for Cyberdust, and help with outlining the process and coming up with ways to make it easier on the interview. My first recommendation is get a bluetooth keyboard for your iphone or ipad, so you can type faster. I was still behind by 100-200 messages nearly the entire first half of the day.