Beto O’Rourke revealed as teenager member of hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow
Beto O’Rourke was revealed Friday to be a former member of an infamous hacker group, the Cult of the Dead Cow, where the presidential hopeful contributed as a teenager under the moniker “Psychedelic Warlord.”
Mr. O’Rourke, the latest Democrat to enter the 2020 race, discussed his affiliation with the group and its impact on his politics in a forthcoming book previewed by Reuters.
“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,” Mr. O’Rourke said, Reuters reported. “I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.
“I understand the democratizing power of the internet, and how transformative it was for me personally, and how it leveraged the extraordinary intelligence of these people all over the country who were sharing ideas and techniques,” he said.
Mr. O’Rourke, 46, spoke about his involvement in the group during an interview conducted amid his unsuccessful bid last year to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, months before he formally entered the 2020 race this week. Reuters reporter Joseph Menn conducted the interview for his upcoming book, “Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World.”
Formed in 1984, Reuters described Cult of the Dead Cow as the nation’s oldest group of hackers. Its members infamously made waves late last century when by publicly releasing a hacking tool, Back Orifice, that could be harnessed to remotely access computers running vulnerable versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
“I was really at the margins, but I very much wanted to be as cool as these people, as sophisticated and technologically proficient and aware and smart as they were,” he told Mr. Menn. “I never was, but it meant so much just being able to be a part of something with them understanding how the world worked literally how it worked, how the phone system worked and how we were all connected to each other.”
Archived copies of digital publications, or zines, released by the group that decade include several entries between 1987 and 1990, including various essays, poems and other articles, attributed to “Psychedelic Warlord.”
“Remember, we are the next generation, and will soon rule the world,” he wrote while a teenager in an essay titled “A Feature on Money - Today’s Monster.”