Since his first computer, a TRS-80 Model III, W3bMind5 has been a lifelong hacker and technology addict. He wrote his first program using all 4K of his system’s RAM within days of purchasing the system in March of 1983. Shortly afterwards he upgraded the system to 16K of RAM, bought a SignalMan Mark II 300/1200baud modem, and began randomly dialing numbers to see what picked up. W3bMind5 then signed up for a CompuServe account and regularly surfed the message boards to learn about things that interested him, this was before the Internet. It wasn’t long after that he maxed out his system’s memory at 48K, and moved from a cassette drive to floppy disks. While in college for Electrical Engineering Technology he carried around a TRS-80 Pocket Computer (another 4K computer that ran BASIC) as his calculator long before programable calculators became the rage.
In college he leveraged his TRS80 to acquire some calling card numbers, and for the first time wore a white-hat as he hacked the universities online testing system and reported the vulnerability. It helped that he took mainframe assembler the prior year at his community college. On leaving school for his first co-op in January of 1984 he joined IBM Research. They then provided him with the first of many IBM PCs feeding his addiction to technology, he soon became the divisions PC Capital Equipment Coordinator, and later the manager of RS/6000 system adminstration.
W3bMind5 has had a storied career both personally and professionally, here are five tidbits:
- 1992 – Hacked the OS2 boot loader to make the first OS installable from CD. Then partnered up with two others to include a catologing system for all OS2 applications, and managed the production of 10s of thousands of CDs to be handed out as free copies to conference attendees (the first OS2 Professional Developers Kit).
- 1998 – Created the first Lotus Domino Web Server vulnerability scanner, and then his team used it to hack Lotus. Two weeks later he presented the tool in-person to the VP of Software Development at Lotus just prior to the public Notes conference. Later L0pht published one of the vulnerabilities.
- 1999 – Hacked a website while their ad was being watched live during Superbowl XXXIV. He then removed the change, and double erased the logs, leave no trace.
- 2001 – He was banned from the Internet, actually black-holed, for sending out four thousand resumes before spam was a thing. Actually they only went to jobs@$1.com where $1 started as AA.com then crawled up the alphabet every twenty seconds to send it to AB.com then AC.com etc… The Dotcom bubble had burst and an unemployed silicon valley technologist like myself was being very creative.
- 2009 – Wrote a wildly popular ballistics application for Archers that cost $20 for the first iPhone, and it’s still actively sold today (Archer’s Mark).
Today W3bMind5 is a Technology Evangelist at a high performance networking company focused on accelerating and securing applications at speeds up to 100Gbps. In his spare time he leads this small rag-tag team of security researchers.