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Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:07 AM

 

Beto O'Rourke's secret membership in America's oldest hacking group -- I like this!

While a teenager, O’Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history.

The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word “hacktivism” to describe human-rights-driven security work.

There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity, such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so. But his membership in the group could explain his approach to politics better than anything on his resume. His background in hacking circles has repeatedly informed his strategy as he explored and subverted established procedures in technology, the media and government.

“There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it,” O’Rourke said. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”

An ex-hacker running for national office would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. But that was before two national elections sent people from other nontraditional backgrounds to the White House and Congress, many of them vowing to blow up the status quo.


Much more at:
[link:https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-politics-beto-orourke/

Good read. There's actually some real positives in this sort of background from my perspective. Personally, I believe this is more likely to help than hurt him. Beto certainly has a good chance. I like him, but still have some reservations about his purported views re: economic issues. But he is in the running as far as I'm concerned.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:11 AM

1. IMHO the take away from this (for most people) is "Hackers are smart."

 

Now, there is a brand of American politics that goes something like "You can not trust smart people. I prefer dumb politicians like Dumbya and Ronnie and Trump." However, Beto does not "look" excessively brainy, so I don't think this will be a problem.

As for the quasi-illegal nature of some so called "hacking", millions of Americans voted FOR a self proclaimed pussy grabbing tax cheater because there is a strong streak of outlaw/rebel/individualism in this country.

Oh, and this is kneecapping.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:28 PM

9. Sorry you feel that way. It wasn't my intent to kneecap.

 

I actually did see this as a positive myself. While I have absolutely no technological skill, I can relate to Beto's background in my own way.

I've made a few changes to try to make this more clear.

If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:16 AM

2. This morning I learned that Beto is a nerd, an empathetic writer and well-read

 

It would easy for me to cast my vote for him in the general.

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to Politicub (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:31 PM

10. Me too.

 

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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:44 AM

3. We have a Nazi in the White House. I will never care about anything like this.

 

the media is so stupid for thinking I would
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Response to EveHammond13 (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:35 PM

11. Personally, I think this article will benefit Beto more than it will hurt him.

 

The more I read, the more I liked what I was reading.

Having said that, I still have some reservations about his positions -- or purported positions -- on economic issues and the role of government in that regard. I'm not keen on libertarianism -- but I will keep an open mind about him for sure. And if he carries the day in the primary, I will absolutely support him in the GE.
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:51 AM

4. I used to have so much fun with CotDC's Back Orifice tool.

 

Mostly messing with friends’ systems and unsecured systems on the school’s network.

They were an iconic group for a teenage nerd in the 90s.
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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 11:59 AM

5. Smart kid .

 

I like that ...
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Response to obnoxiousdrunk (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:11 PM

7. Yup. Me too.

 

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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:01 PM

6. Who better to protect us from cyber warfare?

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
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Joe Biden

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Response to marylandblue (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:35 PM

12. Makes sense to me.

 

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Response to KPN (Original post)

Sat Mar 16, 2019, 12:19 PM

8. For those of you who grew up in the 'trade' / IT, back then, response time was pretty bad, ...

 

and only computers at that time was mainframes (no PCs at that time, one of my subgroups in my office actually studied PCs for the corporation at that time, to see if we could bring them into the company).

In between the slow response times, while waiting, we would all sit there (in the terminal room), sometimes seeing if we could get into other computer systems for the heck of it. We wouldn't do any damage of course, but it was a challenge and it helped pass the time. Also, back then the concept of having everything 'mechanized' was foreign too (mid to late 70s, early 80s), as well as having everything interconnected. It was literally unheard of (everything interconnected) so there wasn't really too much out there Internet-wise.

Now of course, response times are much much better, and breaking/hacking into a system is a NO NO, but back then, the concept of security was all so new and foreign. One of my jobs actually was (within IT) to actually break into a computer system (to test its ability to block unwanted visitors/users), and evaluate its security/make recommendations on improvements.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to KPN (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 06:46 PM

13. Beto O'Rourke's hacking universe, explained

 

I like the Washington Post's explanation of this https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/15/beto-orourkes-hacking-universe-explained/?utm_term=.0b9e2d0b9d53

At the time that O’Rourke was engaged with the group, the Internet wasn’t the Internet we have today. This was the late 1980s, and it wasn’t until the early 1990s that Americans began to regularly use something like the Internet as we understand it now, connecting over networks to pages on the Web. O’Rourke wasn’t sitting in front of a computer and clicking a Web browser. In fact, he wasn’t clicking anything.

What O’Rourke was using was a “bulletin-board system,” or BBS, which is to the Web what going to a restaurant is to going to a food festival. A food festival that’s also on Seamless.

How much of this is familiar to you will depend on how old you are. You may, for example, remember modems, little boxes attached to your computer or (in later years) built into it, into which you’d plug a regular phone landline. (If you don’t know what a phone landline is, which seems plausible, it’s the physical cord that ran phone lines into houses before cellphones became ubiquitous.) The modem converted a signal that could run over a phone line into one that a computer could recognize.

In the early days of the Internet, people used modems to connect to Internet service providers (ISPs), which would connect them to the broader Internet. But in the BBS era, modems were used to connect directly to other computers that were running software that could host small communities of users. To connect, you would actually call a specific phone number with your computer and connect to the computer hosting the BBS.

This story actually makes me like Beto more.

BTW, I still remember using something called mag cards and floppy disks to revise documents.
If I were to vote in a presidential
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Response to Gothmog (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 10:37 PM

14. Mag cards -- there's a blast from the past!

 

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Response to KPN (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 18, 2019, 11:09 PM

15. I show my kids an old floppy disk and they were amazed

 

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #15)

Tue Mar 19, 2019, 12:19 AM

16. Lol. I'll bet. I still have some of them hanging around too. No drives though.

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
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