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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

1729 Re:Then, he's the writer of the series? (193 comments)

If you're surprised that the news isn't fact checking well, then you've not been watching the news for the past decade or so.

I'm not surprised, but does that mean we should just be complacent? News should be based on verifiable facts. When it's not, we -- the viewers -- should call them out on it.

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

1729 It's not about the show! (193 comments)

For everyone saying "it's just a show": that's not the problem. Walter O'Brien is using his credibility from his show to promote himself as a real super-genius consultant. He has news programs touting him as the person who solved the Boston marathon bombings. He spent two hours on the radio last night promoting his "concierge" service. It's not just a bad TV show; the guy is perpetrating a real-life fraud.

about two weeks ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

1729 Re:Confused about summary (193 comments)

The linked article should clarify a bit: O'Brien is using the news stories about his "genius" to promote his consulting business.

about two weeks ago
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Another look at Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien, the "genius hacker" behind CBS

1729 Re:Accidentally submitted (2 comments)

Actually, title should finish: "behind CBS's new show".

about two weeks ago
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Another look at Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien, the "genius hacker" behind CBS

1729 Accidentally submitted (2 comments)

I was editing the title, must have hit enter in the wrong field, and next thing I knew the story was submitted. So two corrections:

1) Title should finish "...behind CBS's Scorpion TV drama"

2) Beginning ("Back in August") should link to previous slashdot story: http://entertainment.slashdot....

about two weeks ago
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Tech Startup Buffer Publishes Every Employee's Salary, Right Up To the CEO

1729 Re:what about your next job? (229 comments)

I just switched jobs, and my new employer asked for my current salary on the application and later verified this information during the background check.

about 10 months ago
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Fusion "Breakthrough" At National Ignition Facility? Not So Fast

1729 Fact check: LLNL isn't shut down (yet) (118 comments)

Because the staff and management are contractors, not Fed employees, LLNL is not shut down. The Lab will begin shutting down next week (assuming the budget boondoggle continues), but until now has been fully staffed with the exception of a very small number of people directly employed by DOE.

1 year,11 days
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NRA Joins ACLU Lawsuit Against NSA

1729 Re:The Enemy of my Enemy is my.... (531 comments)

There are a lot of us who support both the ACLU and pro-2A organizations. I'm not a fan of the NRA specifically, but I support several gun-rights groups (including the Second Amendment Foundation and the Calguns Foundation) as well as the ACLU and EFF.

about a year ago
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Surveillance Story Turns Into a Warning About Employer Monitoring

1729 Re:Private browsing (382 comments)

Google searches can be made over SSL. You could also tunnel to your home proxy server.

Unfortunately, a lot of employers perform MITM attacks to defeat SSL. I know my employer does. This creates a significant security risk, not the least because it trains employees to ignore certificate errors, but it's increasingly common.

about a year ago
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DoD Descends On DEFCAD

1729 Re:Rubbish (496 comments)

You really have no idea how bullets work, do you? The metal casings are for the bullets, not the guns. If you attempt to make a bullet with a plastic casing (you can't buy them), it will fail on the first shot. Not the second shot, not the third, the first. If you use plastic casings on a bullet, it will explode and you will fail. No debate.

Caseless ammunition already exists.

about a year and a half ago
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DoD Descends On DEFCAD

1729 Re:Shock news: first Amendment has limits too (496 comments)

It never ceases to amaze me how people are able to seize on the Amendments to justify their own short-sighted, stupid, destructive, extremist and anarchist hankerings.

Of course there are limits to how far you can push your first-amendment rights; there have to be. See e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution and scroll down to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who formulated the clear and present danger test for free speech cases.

Thing is, Holmes was wrong in that case.

about a year and a half ago
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LLNL/RPI Supercomputer Smashes Simulation Speed Record

1729 LLNL Supercomputer, not RPI (79 comments)

Headline is incorrect: Sequoia is at LLNL, not RPI.

about a year and a half ago
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41 Months In Prison For Man Who Leaked AT&T iPad Email Addresses

1729 Re:Good (459 comments)

He didn't "break in". He sent requests to a publicly-accessible web server, and AT&T sent back private information.

Like sending "requests" to a publicly-accessible ATM using cards with other people's information on them, and then taking the money the bank "willingly" gives you.

Yeah, I totally see the difference between that and "breaking in" to an ATM.

No, that would be like to trying to impersonate people by guessing their passwords. In Weev's case, there was no authentication to circumvent.

about a year and a half ago
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41 Months In Prison For Man Who Leaked AT&T iPad Email Addresses

1729 Re:Good (459 comments)

Isn't a key element of the legal case that he also retransmitted the private information? He did not merely receive it.

From the court filing, it appears both charges are predicated on the notion that sending GET requests to an unprotected, publicly-accessible web server constitute unauthorized access under Title 18, Section 1030(a)(2)(C).

about a year and a half ago
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41 Months In Prison For Man Who Leaked AT&T iPad Email Addresses

1729 Re:Good (459 comments)

Meatspace analogy :

If a bank didn't have a door on it's vault, or any forms of security whatsoever, would you walk in and take out all the money? Even if you proceeded directly to the local police department to report the security flaw and deliver the unguarded money, you'd find yourself in quite a bit of trouble.

Here's a better analogy: you send the bank self-addressed stamped envelopes, and they willingly send private information about their clients back to you in those envelopes.

about a year and a half ago
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41 Months In Prison For Man Who Leaked AT&T iPad Email Addresses

1729 Re:Good (459 comments)

Nearly everything Weev does is malicious, but the question is: is it (or should it be) illegal? He was convicted of identity fraud and "conspiracy to access a computer without authorization". Think about that: requesting unprotected publicly-accessible webpages is "access[ing]" a computer without authorization". By that standard, anyone who uses the internet could be convicted of a crime.

about a year and a half ago
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41 Months In Prison For Man Who Leaked AT&T iPad Email Addresses

1729 Re:Good (459 comments)

He didn't "break in". He sent requests to a publicly-accessible web server, and AT&T sent back private information. This wasn't hacking, or even a DOS attack. AT&T is at fault here.

about a year and a half ago

Submissions

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Another look at Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien, the "genius hacker" behind CBS

1729 1729 writes  |  about two weeks ago

1729 (581437) writes "Back in August, there was speculation that the "real life" Walter O'Brien (alleged inspiration for CBS's new drama Scorpion) might be a fraud. Mike Masnick from techdirt follows up on the story:

The more you dig, the more of the same you find. Former co-workers of O'Brien's have shown up in comments or reached out to me and others directly — and they all say the same thing. Walter is a nice enough guy, works hard, does a decent job (though it didn't stop him from getting laid off from The Capital Group), but has a penchant for telling absolutely unbelievable stories about his life. It appears that in just repeating those stories enough, some gullible Hollywood folks took him at his word (and the press did too), and now there's a mediocre TV show about those made up stories.

Masnick's article is a fascinating look at a man who appears to have conned both TV executives and journalists into believing his far-fetched Walter Mitty fantasies."

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