- February 26 - The "Phoenix Fortress" BBS issues warrants for the arrest and confiscation of the equipment of 7 local users in Fremont, CA. The sysop turns out to be a local law enforcement agent and the "Phoenix Fortress" a "Sting BBS", a BBS created to catch hackers and pirates.
- March 3 - The FidoNet Nodelist (a weekly distributed file listing all nodes on the FidoNet network) is large enough that Ben Baker announces that it will now be distributed both in a whole form (NODELIST.XXX) and as a "Difference File" (NODEDIFF.XXX) which will only list the changes to the Nodelist. This radically cuts down the amount of time spent online distributing the nodelist between fidonet nodes.
- August 13 - The International FidoNet Association (IFNA) Articles of Association are submitted to the State of Missouri, declaring it a non-profit organization.
- August 14 - The Silicon Mountain Conference of the International Fido Net (Later called Fidocon '86 or The First International Fidonet Conference) is held from August 14th to 17th, 1986 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Fidocons continue into the 90's (and into the 21st century in Europe).
- September - Bill Landreth, author of "Out of the Inner Circle", gets up from a computer he is using at a friend's house in Escondido, CA, walks out the door, is not heard of again until he is found in Seattle, WA in July of 1987.
- September - Mustang Software is founded in Bakersfield, CA. They later become one of the "big five" BBS Software Producers with the "Wildcat!" BBS package. The founders are Jim Harrer and Rick Heming.
- October 21 - President Ronald Reagan signs the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. This act, intended to protect electronic mail and communication by carriers, is quickly assumed to also apply to BBS Sysops, who scramble through legal debates and discussions to determine their liabilities and requirements under the act.
- Scott, Jason. The TEXTFILES.COM BBS Timeline.