Born In: County Wexford, Ireland
Walter O'Brien is a United States-based Irish businessman and information technologist who is the founder and CEO of the company, Scorpion Computer Services, Inc., which he established at the age of 13 to provide IT tutoring services. A child prodigy who reportedly scored 197 in an IQ test, he has often told tall tales of hacking into NASA servers as a teenager or contributing to the software used by the FBI to catch the bombers at the 2013 Boston Marathon. However, since CBS started airing the drama series Scorpion based on his various exploits, skepticism has grown among IT professionals, hackers and computer enthusiasts regarding seeming contradictions, misleading information and exaggerations in the television show as well as various media articles about him. To make things worse, he often refuses to provide more details about his exploits citing non-disclosure agreements and has not taken the Mensa IQ test either.
father: Maurice O'Brien
mother: Anne O'Brien
Born Country: Ireland
Notable Alumni: University Of Sussex
education: University of Sussex, St Kieran's College
Walter O'Brien was born on February 24, 1975 as the second of five children of Maurice and Anne O'Brien in Clonroche, County Wexford, Ireland, and was raised on a farm. He attended St. Patrick's National School in Clonroche until the age of 13 when his family moved to Rosshaven, following which he went to St. Mary's Christian Brothers School, Enniscorthy.
He has stated that he had scored 197 in an IQ test administered by one of his teachers in primary school, but he didn’t keep the paper. Many feel that since each IQ test is different and age-dependent, his childhood high score does not mean much, adding that he should have retaken it through Mensa if he wanted to boast.
He became interested in computers after his primary school started offering a computer course and had bought an Amstrad personal computer in 1984 with the money he had saved from doing chores on the farm. While some local papers support this claim, others maintain that his parents bought him his first computer when he was 12 years old.
He was only 13 when, under the pseudonym "Scorpion", he claims to have hacked into NASA servers, following which the NSA, through Interpol, had appeared on his doorsteps. He further claims to have an extradition document ready in his backpack, but brokered a deal to help show them vulnerabilities in their network in exchange for escaping trouble.
He completed his Leaving Certificate from St Kieran's College in Kilkenny before going to University of Sussex in 1993 to study computer science and artificial intelligence. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from there in 1996.
He was part of the Irish team that participated in the 1993 International Olympiad in Informatics computer coding competition where, according to his University records, his team finished at 90th place out of 250 competitors. The website of his company claims that, at 18, he ranked as high as the sixth-fastest programmer in the world.
In 2003, he obtained certifications in Trading Strategies in the Global Markets (Order Handling and Regulations) from New York Institute of Finance and in Advanced Winrunner 7.5 QA Automation from HP (Mercury). He further obtained certifications in Advanced Execution Services (AES) Algorithmic Trading Strategies from CS First Boston in 2004 and in Trade Analytics for Plexus Best Execution Analysis from JPMorgan Chase (Plexus Group) in 2005.
Walter O'Brien claims to have founded his company, Scorpion Computer Services, Inc., at the age of 13 in 1987 and described it as a think tank for "high IQ individuals". It had originally started out as an IT tutoring service but later expanded into security and risk management.
In 1992, he briefly served as a Software Engineer for ZERGO (Baltimore Technologies) where he developed, tested and administered their software inventory database. He next served as a Software Engineer for ISOCOR (Critical Path) in 1994-96, during which period he created the localization and development tools department and automated Quality Assurance testing across all product lines.
In 1996, he became an Internal Tools Developer for ORACLE where he designed, developed, tested and deployed complex language translation tools and optimized language translation, saving marketing time by 5 months and cost by $5m. He next became a Product Manager at UNISCAPE (Microsoft Trados), where he was responsible for developing company’s flagship software, managing a development and test team of 10, and generated over $10m in revenue through sales.
During 1998-2001, he was Director Global Release Engineering at GLOVIA International (FUJITSU GLOVIA), for which he globalized the ERP software product from US English into 24 languages, apart from staffing, training and managing several departments. He subsequently became Chief Globalization Officer for Pro Plus Systems, where he worked for less than a year.
In April 2002, he joined Capital Group as a Technology Executive, where he developed and implemented SDLC Process and was involved in Compliance Risk Mitigation, Software Quality Assurance and Configuration Management. He stayed at Capital Group for seven years before joining the Board of Directors of American Environmental Energy, Inc. in April 2009.
He contacted entertainment executive Scooter Braun to make a television show to promote his software company, which resulted in the CBS drama series Scorpion in September 2014. He served as executive producer for the series, regularly contributing to its story development, but it has been criticized for factual inaccuracies and was called out for exaggeration on the National Science Teachers Association website.
A report by Fox 11 LA-KTTV a month after the 2013 Boston Marathon had credited his company for creating video-analysis software like the one used by FBI to catch the bombers. However, Techdirt termed it as one of many "bogus" claims about O'Brien by CBS, following which he talked to Fast Company to address the growing skepticism, but avoided many questions citing non-disclosure agreements.
In 2015, he founded Scorpion Studios, which provides technical advice, script development and research on subjects like cyber security and hacking to Hollywood productions. He also provides “rent-a-brain service” called ConciergeUp to general public through his main company.
Walter O'Brien became the youngest recipient of unite4:humanity's “Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2017 for his involvement with various philanthropic initiatives. The same year, he also received the C-Suite Quarterly's Visionary award.
Walter O'Brien, who has been living in the US since moving to the country following graduation, settled in Los Angeles, California after being issued an EB-1 visa in 2001. The visa is issued to thousands of people each year with "extraordinary abilities" or those considered a national asset.
In 2015, he was awarded a mayoral certificate from the mayor of Kilkenny, Ireland for his contribution and dedication to the Irish community in Los Angeles. The same year, he had also provided the initial funding for Kilkenny Taxi Watch, a suicide prevention program that reportedly prevented over a 100 suicides by mid-2016.
Walter O'Brien told the Irish Times that despite his high IQ, he has a very low EQ and has no filter in his mouth, which is why he blurts outs things out of place. He has also claimed that he agreed to a television show on his life because he enjoyed shows like MacGyver as a child and wanted to inspire “school-leavers [in] choosing 'unpopular' science degrees”.
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