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Virgil Griffith

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Virgil Griffith

Virgil Griffith, 2007
Born1983 (age 26–27)
Alabama, USA
EducationCognitive science (University of Alabama)
OccupationHacker
Website
http://virgil.gr/

Virgil Griffith (born 1983), also known as Romanpoet, is an American hacker, known for his involvement with a 2003 lawsuit with the Blackboard Inc. company and his creation of the WikiScanner. He has published papers on artificial life and is currently a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology.[1] According to the New York Times, he is the Internet Man of Mystery.[2]

Contents

Biography

Griffith was born in Alabama in 1983 and graduated from the Alabama School of Math and Science in 2002,[3] and then attended the University of Alabama, studying cognitive science in New College. He was a member of the Mallet Assembly. He transferred to Indiana University in 2004, but returned to graduate cum laude from Alabama in August 2007.[4] Griffith is now a graduate student[5] studying computation and neural systems.[6] He is affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute as a visiting researcher.[7]

Griffith has given talks at the hacker conferences Interz0ne, PhreakNIC, and HOPE. It was at Interz0ne 1 in 2002 that he met Billy Hoffman, a Georgia hacker who had discovered a security flaw in the campus magnetic ID card system called "BuzzCard". He and Hoffman proceeded over the next year to learn more about the flaw and attempted to give a talk at Interz0ne2 in April 2003. However, a few hours before the presentation, he and Hoffman were served with a restraining order.[8] Two days later, it was followed by a lawsuit from Blackboard Inc. alleging that they had stolen trade secrets as well as violated both the DMCA[9] and the Economic Espionage Act.[10][11][12] The lawsuit was later settled.

On August 14, 2007, Griffith released a new software utility, "WikiScanner," that tracks Wikipedia article edits from unregistered accounts back to their originating IP addresses and identifies the corporations or organizations to which they belong.[13]

Writing

  • Virgil Griffith, Markus Jakobsson, 2005. "Messin' with Texas: Deriving Mother's Maiden Names Using Public Records", ISBN 978-3-540-26223-7.
  • Virgil Griffith, Larry Yaeger, 2005, MIT Press. "Ideal Free Distribution in Agents with Evolved Neural Architectures. A-Life 10 Conference".
  • Griffith is listed as one of the contributors (as "Virgil G") in The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms, 2006, ISBN 0-7867-1726-2.[14]
  • Two articles in Phishing and Counter-Measures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft, ISBN 0-471-78245-9.

References

  1. ^ John Borland (August 14, 2007). "See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign". Wired (magazine). http://www.wired.com/politics/onlinerights/news/2007/08/wiki_tracker. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  2. ^ Virginia Heffernan. "The Medium - Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery". http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-medium-t.html. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Alumnus Virgil Griffith Creates and Releases Wikipedia Scanner". September 3, 2007. http://www.asms.net/events.htm. 
  4. ^ See David Virgil Griffith in "Commencement" (PDF). The University of Alabama. 2007. http://www.ua.edu/commencement/images/commsummer07.pdf. Retrieved 29 August 2007. 
  5. ^ "Scanner Tracks Who's Changing What on Wikipedia". NPR. August 16, 2007. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12823729. 
  6. ^ "CNS Graduate Students". http://cns.caltech.edu/people/gradstudents.html. 
  7. ^ "SFI Profile: Virgil Griffith". Santa Fe Institute. March 27, 2008. http://www.santafe.edu/profiles/?pid=288. 
  8. ^ "Temporary Restraining Order against Hoffman and Griffith". April 14, 2003. http://www.interz0ne.com/events/Blackboard_Restr_Order.pdf. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  9. ^ "Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA". Electronic Frontier Foundation. April 2006. http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/unintended_consequences.php. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  10. ^ "Restraining Order Letter". April 12, 2003. http://virgil.gr/71.sizes.@BBletter-p2.jpg?size1=XL. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  11. ^ "Blackboard Gets Gag Order Against Smart-Card Hackers". Washington Post. 2003-04-17. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A48214-2003Apr17. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  12. ^ Foster, Andrea L (2003-04-16). "At Blackboard's Request, Judge Prevents Students From Discussing Security of Debit-Card System". The Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/free/2003/04/2003041601t.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-16. 
  13. ^ Jonathan Fildes (August 15, 2007). "Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6947532.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  14. ^ "Mammoth Book of Secret Code Puzzles: Acknowledgements". http://www.elonka.com/mammoth/acknowledgements.html. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 

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