Who is Walter O’Brien
Walter O'Brien (born 24 February 1975) is an Irish businessman, information technologist, executive producer, and media personality who is the founder and CEO of Scorpion Computer Services, Inc. He is also the inspiration for and executive producer of the CBS television series, Scorpion. He is known for having a self-reported high IQ and for his claims to have hacked NASA at age 13. The authenticity of his claims has been the subject of speculation in the press.
Childhood and education
Walter O'Brien was born to Maurice and Anne O'Brien in 1975 in Clonroche, County Wexford, Ireland. The second of five children, he grew up on a farm. He attended St. Patrick's National School in Clonroche until his family moved to Rosshaven, when he was 13 years old. There he attended St. Mary's Christian Brothers School (CBS) in Enniscorthy.
O'Brien has stated he scored a 197 on an IQ test administered by one of his teachers in primary school but did not keep the paperwork. TechDirt and The Irish Times said that O'Brien's 197 IQ score from childhood does not mean his intelligence exceeds that of other adults because scoring is scaled based on age. Mike Masnick noted that of all the "top IQ" lists available online, each one is different and none contains O'Brien's name. Susan Karlin questioned why, since O'Brien uses his IQ score as part of his self-marketing, he did not retake the test through Mensa so that it could be confirmed.
After completing his Leaving Certificate at St Kieran's College in Kilkenny, O’Brien attended the University of Sussex where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and artificial intelligence.
Early interest in computers
According to the New Ross Standard, a local paper in O'Brien's home county, his interest in computers began when his primary school started offering a computer course. O'Brien's father gave him livestock as payment for doing chores on the farm, which he sold in order to purchase an Amstrad personal computer at age nine. According to IrishCentral, his parents bought him a computer at age 12, which is when his interest in computers started.
O'Brien claims that when he was thirteen years old (c. 1988), he hacked into NASA under the pseudonym "Scorpion". IrishCentral and Irish Daily Mail said the incident was unconfirmed. In an interview with Silicon Republic, an Irish technology news website, O'Brien claimed that the NSA, through Interpol, appeared at his home following the hack. He told the agents he would help show them vulnerabilities in their network in exchange for not getting into trouble. According to O'Brien, he had an extradition document ready in his backpack, but he couldn't provide more details on the deal that was made due to non-disclosure agreements. French tabloid Telestar said there is no trace of the NASA hack. Techdirt pointed out that the United States Department of Homeland Security, claimed to have surrounded O'Brien's home, did not exist at the time of the alleged hack.
O'Brien was a member of the Irish team that participated in the 1993 International Olympiad in Informatics computer coding competition. The university from which he graduated shows his team finished the 1993 Olympiad in 90th place out of 250.
O'Brien is alleged to have founded Scorpion Computer Services at age 13 in 1988 to provide international security services. The Irish Times reported he brought the business state side in the late 1990s, after graduating from college and moving to the United States. The New Ross Standard wrote that Scorpion Computer Services started as an IT tutoring service that expanded into security and risk management, and The Irish Times also described Scorpion Computer Services as an artificial-intelligence company. In 2014, O'Brien described his company as a think tank for "high IQ individuals". He serves as Scorpion Computer Services, Inc.'s CEO.
O'Brien is Chief Scientist at Langford & Carmichael, a veteran-run business consultancy. O'Brien also founded ConciergeUp.com, marketed as a think tank of geniuses that execute "funded wishes".
O'Brien has spoken at numerous events, including delivering the keynote at the Houston Innovation Conference and Showcase, The Founder Institute, Lido Consulting's Family Office Investment Symposium, the Family Office Association's Global Spring Summit, and LawLoop.com's LegalTech 2012 conference. He sits on the board of the Houston Technology Center.