Virgil Griffith

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Virgil Griffith
VirgilGriffithFace34.jpg
Virgil Griffith, 2017
Born (1983-03-06) March 6, 1983 (age 35)
Birmingham, Alabama, United States
ResidenceSingapore
Other namesRomanpoet
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
OccupationInternet and software researcher
Known forWikiScanner, Tor2web
TelevisionKing of the Nerds
Websitehttp://virgil.gr

Virgil Griffith (born 1983), also known as Romanpoet,[1] is an American programmer, known for his creation of WikiScanner. He has published papers on artificial life[2] and integrated information theory.[3] In developing WikiScanner, Griffith described his mission as "to create minor public-relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike."[1]

Early life[edit]

Griffith was born in Birmingham, Alabama and grew up in nearby Tuscaloosa.[1] He graduated from the Alabama School of Math and Science in 2002,[4] and then attended the University of Alabama, studying cognitive science. He transferred to Indiana University in 2004, but returned to graduate cum laude from Alabama in August 2007.[5] In 2014 Griffith received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology under Christof Koch[6] in computation and neural systems.[7] He is affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute as a visiting researcher.[8]

Computer career[edit]

Griffith has given talks at the hacker conferences Interz0ne, PhreakNIC, and HOPE.

At Interz0ne 1 in 2002, he met Billy Hoffman, a Georgia Tech student, who had discovered a security flaw in the campus magnetic ID card system called "BuzzCard". He and Hoffman collaborated to study the flaw and attempted to give a talk about it at Interz0ne 2 in April 2003. A few hours before the presentation, he and Hoffman were served with a cease and desist order from corporate lawyers acting for Blackboard Inc..[9][10] Two days later, it was followed by a lawsuit alleging that they had stolen trade secrets and violated both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act[11][12] and the Economic Espionage Act.[13] The lawsuit was later settled.[citation needed]

On August 14, 2007, Griffith released a software utility, WikiScanner, that tracked Wikipedia article edits from unregistered accounts back to their originating IP addresses and identified the corporations or organizations to which they belonged.[14]

In 2008, together with Aaron Swartz, Griffith designed the Tor2web proxy.[15][16]

Writing[edit]

  • Virgil Griffith, Markus Jakobsson, 2005. Messin' with Texas: Deriving Mother's Maiden Names Using Public Records. ISBN 3-540-26223-7.
  • Virgil Griffith, Larry S. Yaeger, 2005, MIT Press. Ideal Free Distribution in Agents with Evolved Neural Architectures. Indiana University School of Informatics and Department of Cognitive Science.
  • Griffith is listed as one of the contributors (as "Virgil G") in Elonka Dunin (2006). The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes And Cryptograms. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1726-2.[17]
  • Two articles in Markus Jakobsson, Steven Myers (2007) Phishing and Counter-Measures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft. Wiley-Interscience. ISBN 0-471-78245-9.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Heffernan, Virginia (November 23, 2008). "The Medium - Virgil Griffith, Internet Man of Mystery". The New York Times.
  2. ^ John Borland (August 14, 2007). "See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign". Wired. Retrieved 2007-08-14.
  3. ^ Griffith, Virgil. "Virgil Griffith's articles on arXiv" (List of papers in a search result.). arXiv. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Library. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Alumnus Virgil Griffith Creates and Releases Wikipedia Scanner". September 3, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
  5. ^ See David Virgil Griffith in "Commencement" (PDF). The University of Alabama. 2007. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Scanner Tracks Who's Changing What on Wikipedia". NPR. August 16, 2007.
  7. ^ "CNS Graduate Students". California Institute of Technology Computation and Neural Systems. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  8. ^ "SF I Profile: Virgil Griffith". Santa Fe Institute. March 27, 2008. Archived from the original on November 20, 2009.
  9. ^ Foster, Andrea L. (16 April 2003). "At Blackboard's Request, Judge Prevents Students From Discussing Security of Debit-Card System". Wayback Machine. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original on April 7, 2007.
  10. ^ "Temporary Restraining Order against Hoffman and Griffith" (PDF). April 14, 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 20, 2003.
  11. ^ "Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the DMCA". Electronic Frontier Foundation. April 2006. Archived from the original on February 15, 2006.
  12. ^ "The copyright cops strike again". Salon. 15 April 2003. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  13. ^ Anitha Reddy (17 April 2003). "Blackboard Gets Gag Order Against Smart-Card Hackers". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012.
  14. ^ Jonathan Fildes (15 August 2007). "Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits'". BBC News.
  15. ^ "New Service Makes Tor Anonymized Content Available to All". wired.com. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  16. ^ "tor2web brings anonymous Tor sites to the "regular" web". arstechnica.com. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  17. ^ "Mammoth Book of Secret Code Puzzles: Acknowledgements". Retrieved 2007-08-14.

External links[edit]