Walter O’Brien, the Irishman who allegedly hacked NASA’s computers when he was 13 and is a prized security hacker working for the US Government, has been nominated Irishman of the Year in LA.
O’Brien, who grew up in Enniscorthy, Wexford, before moving to Callan in Kilkenny, famously hacked NASA when he was 13 and cut a deal with the US security apparatus by promising to show where the holes in its network were.
O’Brien heads Scorpion Computer Services specialising in international security and has had a blockbuster CBS TV show made about him called Scorpion that has attracted more than 26m viewers in the US.
The US Department of Homeland Security has certified Walter O’Brien as being a person of national interest to the US and granted him an Extraordinary Ability EB 1-1 Visa based on his high IQ, the same visa granted to Albert Einstein.
He has worked with the US Department of Homeland Security, plus Navy and Air Force systems to employ his artificial intelligence systems to protect American military personnel. As founder and CEO of Scorpion Computer Services and the CEO of Scorpion Studios, he has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies, including the world’s largest mutual fund, Fujitsu, Trados, Oracle Corporation, Baltimore Technologies, and Critical Path.
O’Brien’s company Scorpion Computer Services employs more than 2,000 geniuses who help the US solve global security and terrorism problems and is reputed to bring in revenues of more than US$1bn a year.
LA’s Irishman of the Year
O’Brien, who lives in LA, regularly donates his time and talent to helping and educating smart charities and encouraging the community in general to celebrate intelligence.
He was recognised for his service to the community in LA and, in particular, his contributions to the Irish community there and the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
O’Brien also received a mayoral certificate from Mayor Andrew McGuinness of Kilkenny, Ireland to acknowledge his contribution and dedication to the Irish community in LA.
McGuinness commended “the great pride” O’Brien brings to the city and thanked him for his continued support for TaxiWatch Kilkenny and suicide prevention services.
O’Brien was a guest celebrity judge at BritWeek: Code for Kids Hack-A-Thon in Los Angeles. ConciergeUp.com, the public-facing arm of O’Brien’s Scorpion Computer Services, has helped a number of people and businesses solve opportunities this year. Also in 2015, O’Brien launched Scorpion Studios, Inc., to serve motion picture studios.
Origins and accomplishments of the Scorpion
Born to a farm family in Wexford, O’Brien scored a 197 on an IQ test, which is higher than Albert Einstein’s IQ and would mean he has the fourth highest IQ if accurate.
After doing his Leaving Cert he went to the University of Sussex where he studied for a degree in computer science and artificial intelligence.
He got his first computer – an Amstrad – at the age of 12 and one year later hacked into NASA under the pseudonym Scorpion.
He apparently returned home from school one day to find his house surrounded by black cars and men from the NSA yelling at him.
Prepared with an extradition waiver he drafted himself, he managed to get the agents to agree to a deal if he told them what he had done.
He is also understood to have worked as a teenager with Irish banks to help them fix technical issues and participated in the 1993 International Olympiad in Informatics where his team finished 90th out of 250 teams.
O’Brien has built ScenGen, a scenario simulator used by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Gruman as well as the US Navy’s Command and Control system.
It is understood that following the Boston Marathon bombing O’Brien developd a video analysis software system that was used to process hours of video to help catch the bombers.