Beto O & Rourke, the Democratic presidential candidate, was one of the oldest group of computer hackers in US history as a teenager, he revealed in an interview.
Members of the influential, so-called Cult of the Dead cow, jokingly named after a deserted slaughterhouse in Texas, have protected his secret for decades and been reluctant to compromise his political viability.
In a series of interviews, group members have recognized O & Rourke as one of their own. In total, more than a dozen members of the group agreed to be mentioned for the first time in a book about the hacking group of this reporter to be released in June. O'Rourke was interviewed early in his unsuccessful election campaign for the US Senate in the midterm elections last year, where he was narrowly defeated by reigning Ted Cruz.
The Dead Cow Cult was notorious for publishing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft Windows programs. It is also known for inventing the term "hacktivism" to describe human rights-led security work. O & Rourkes membership could explain a lot about his approach to politics and the transformation of established technology, media and government practices.
"There is only this profound value in being able to distance yourself from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you are doing it," said O & Rourke in an interview. "I think of the cult of the dead cow as a great example of that."
There is no indication that O? Rourke himself was ever engaged in the most ingenious hacker activity ̵
O'Rourke was an inappropriate teenager in the 1980s in El Paso, Texas, when he decided to seek bulletin board systems, the online discussion boards, which at the time were the best electronic means available to people connect to.
"When Dad bought an Apple IIe and a 300 baud modem and I started climbing boards, it was the Facebook of the day," he said. "They just wanted to be part of a community."
O Rourke soon formed his own counterculture board, TacoLand, which was free of punk music and focused on punk music.
He then teamed with another young hacker in the more conservative Texas area, Lubbock, who ran a bulletin board called Demon Roach Underground. Kevin Wheeler, known online as Swamp Rat, recently moved from a university town in Ohio and had a hard time getting used to life in Texas.
Like O & Rourke, Wheeler said he's looking for video games that have been "cracked". or deprived of digital rights so that he could play them for free on his Apple and try to connect with like-minded people.
Wheeler and a friend named Cult of the Dead Cow after an eerie hangout. a closed Lubbock slaughterhouse.
At that time, people connected to bulletin boards by dialing into the phone lines using a modem. Intensive use of long distance calls with the modem can result in hundreds of dollars per month. An experienced teenager learned techniques to avoid fees, such as: For example, use the credit card numbers of other telephone companies and five-digit phone numbers to make free calls.
O'Rourke did not say what techniques he used. Like thousands of others, however, he said he stole long-distance traffic "so I do not control the phone bill."
Under Texas law, theft of less than $ 1,500 is an offense committed by A fine can be punished. More than that is a crime and could lead to prison sentences. It is not clear if O'Rourke has crossed this threshold. In any case, the state prohibits the prosecution of persons under the age of 17, as O Rourke has been active in the group most of the time and the limitation period is five years. Two contemporaries of the Dead Cow cult in Texas caught hijacking the cards when minors alighted with warnings.
O & Rourke relinquished control of his own board as he moved east to boarding school, saying he had stopped attending the hidden cult of the dead cow after he turned 18 at the age of 18 who had enrolled at Columbia University.
Hana Callaghan, a government expert at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics of Santa Clara University, said that voters both want to consider the gravity of a candidate's criminal offenses and the person's age at the time.
O & Rourke and his old friends say that his time as a young hacker in El Paso was fed as a software entrepreneur and alternative press publisher, which in turn led to successful long-shot running in the city council and then to the congress. where he eventually dropped an incumbent Democrat.
O & Rourke's writing of nearly three decades ago, under the "Psychedelic Warlord" grip, remains online. He was thinking about a world without money and how to end hunger and class distinctions.