Dakota Nelson is a penetration tester and security analyst for Black Hills Information Security. Dakota graduated with a BS in Engineering with a Concentration in Computing from Olin College. He has a passion and enthusiasm for information security that can be traced back to attending security conferences in his teens, taking every opportunity to focus on security while in college, and joining BHIS as an intern in 2014. Dakota gives back to the infosec community by committing to open-source projects, writing technical blogs, and giving educational webcasts. Dakota’s background in engineering and his hacker mindset gives him a unique perspective when approaching a target organization that makes him an indispensable member of the team.

In Dakota’s own words: “My favorite part of pentests are usually the exploration/spelunking aspect. The security posture of any network (or computer, or etc. – it’s fractal all the way down) is a massively complicated graph, and a pentest is the process of starting from one node on that graph and determining all of the edges, hidden or otherwise, that allow you to move around and gain access to the things you want – maybe an edge is a sprayed password, or a misconfigured share, or any of a billion things. Either way, we’re mapping a network on an entirely separate conceptual plane from how most people see it and I think that’s a lot of fun.”