Silicon Valley is sprung over Beto's hacker roots

Last week, Reuters broke a story that revealed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was part of one of America’s oldest hacking groups in the 80’s. 

Hacking till the cows come home

The hacking group, which is still around, is called the Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc). The cDc was an early “hacktivist” group -- essentially a band of politically-motivated nerds with some technical chops that maintained online bulletin boards (think 80’s version of Facebook/blogs) and had a flair for attention-grabbing stunts. 

cDc is probably best known for their release of a program dubbed “Back Orifice” that gave users remote access to other people’s computers running Microsoft Windows. The cDc stated that the program was developed to expose security flaws in the Windows product and motivate Microsoft to take action to remedy them.

The West Texas Warlord

O’Rourke was an active member of the community from its foundation in the early 1980’s until he left for Columbia University in 1988. His hacker handle? “Psychedelic Warlord” -- which, to be fair, we can’t really make fun of when we look back on our middle school AIM screen names

During Beto’s tenure, cDc was primarily a platform for angsty teens to publish and distribute counterculture thought pieces. Here’s a gem from Beto’s bulletin board days:
The idea of a former hacker president definitely sounds cool, but before you get too excited O’Rourke’s “hacking” was basically limited to pirating video games and contributing to a fringe political publication. Neither of which is really out of character for a former punk rock bassist and sub-par skater

Hacker backers

Tech-centric publications like TechCrunch, Wired, and The Verge all used the story as a bump to Beto’s “one of us” factor with Silicon Valley insiders -- some of whom were outspoken supporters of Beto’s senate (and now presidential) run. 

With his new “hacktivist” title and as the founder of a software company himself, Beto is poised to be a frontrunner in the Valley, along with Venture for America founder Andrew Yang (who has the most thorough policy section on a candidate’s website that we’ve ever seen).

TL;DR Beto’s short-lived WarGames-style hacking days and former software company founder status give him street cred with Silicon Valley voters. 
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Brendan Uyeshiro
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