Hact is the double-act of two of the most experienced, compelling, and straight-talking experts from the world of cybercrime and identity fraud.
Their combined experience spans more than 60 years, across the country and around the world. One an award-winning crime fighter, and the other the type of criminal mastermind he was trying to fight.
Neal O'Farrell is the dressmaker-turned-codemaker who accidently fell into the world of cybersecurity when it was just in its infancy, nearly 40 years ago.
While still in his twenties, he won the contract to encrypt Ireland’s entire national ATM network, co-hosted with IBM one of Europe’s first computer security conferences, and got into trouble with the global intelligence community for his groundbreaking work on advanced secure telephone systems.
In the 1990s he developed the world's first fully encrypting fax machine, worked with British banks of the first implementation of a biometrics access control system to protect the fledgling telephone banking system, and later was one of the first Irishmen invited inside GCHQ, Britain’s ultra-secretive spy headquarters.
In 2004 Neal was the first expert to train an entire police department in identity theft awareness. He went on to lead the Identity Theft Council, an award-winning non-profit that has assisted thousands of victims of identity theft. Through his work with the Council, Neal has helped set new standards in the way victims of identity theft are treated and supported, and in how law enforcement is trained.
He has worked with hundreds of police departments, Neighborhood Watch groups and community action organizations. He also takes on complex cases referred to him by the FBI and U.S. Secret Service. In 2011 the Council was honored with the Editors' Choice Award from SC Magazine, one of the cyber security industry's most prestigious awards. Previous winners include the NSA. In 2015 he was honored as the first ever recipient of the Eigen Award, presented by the International Association of Certified Fraud Examiners at the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco. Read his full bio or check out some of his speaking and media appearances.
Brett Johnson grew up in rural eastern Kentucky, and quickly found that a mixture of crime and technology offered his best chance of escape from poverty.
Brett became so good at being a criminal, he quickly earned some dubious titles. The Secret Service described him as “the original Internet Godfather,” and he was honored him with the distinction of being the first cybercrimal to make the US Most Wanted list.
Brett came to the attention of law enforcement as one of the leaders of ShadowCrew, the precursor to today's darkweb and darkweb markets, where thousands of hackers from around the world traded in the commodities of crime – records stolen in data breaches, credit cards and social security numbers, passwords, malware, fake IDs and diplomas and much more.
One of the most notorious leaders of ShadowCrew was Albert “CumbaJohny” Gonzalez, now serving a lengthy prison sentence for stealing and selling nearly 200 million credit cards in massive data breaches like TJ Maxx, Dave and Busters, and dozens of other businesses.
When Shadowcrew was finally dismantled by a coordinated law enforcement operation, more than 30 of its leaders and participants were arrested. Brett was later arrested for a series of unrelated identity crimes and spent nearly 7 years in various prisons.
Today Brett is considered one of the leading authorities on the dark web, and is committed to teaching others how to stay safe from people like him. He has taught security to diverse audiences, from the FBI Academy and the AARP, to Visa, American Express, and TransUnion, and has spoken at events around the world from Paris to Istanbul. Read his full bio.
Both Brett and Neal are sought-after speakers, with a reputation for delivering unforgettable insights into the shady world of cybercrime and all its close cousins.
Audiences they’ve educated and entertained include Ascent Wealth Partners, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Ameriprise, Stifel Nicolaus, US Bank, US Trust, BKR International, Bartlett Wealth Management. American Century, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the National Association of Secretaries of State, Visa, Transunion, American Express, AARP, the FBI, the Institute of Management Accountants, the CPA Firm Management Association, as well as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the High Tech Crimes Investigators Association (HTCIA), the California Financial Crimes Investigators Association (CFCIA), the California High Technology Crime Advisory Committee (HTCAC), and the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators.