ArtI am Betvin Géant. I once thought I was Jesus Christ and I was hospitalized for a week because of it. I wrote a graphic novel influenced by my experiences with mental disorder. AMA!
Feb 16th 2017 by BetvinGeant • 18 Questions • 66 Points
Hi! We're Frank Conniff, Trace Beaulieu, and Carolina Hidalgo of Movie Sign with the Mads.
If Peeta tried to fight you, could real life you take him down?
How hard do you laugh during movies when two hackers are locked digital combat, typing at 1,000mph?
HI everyone! I love you guys! Thank you so much for MST3K. You helped me and my kids through some really rough times. Thanks for getting the band back together, you may not realize how much this show means to us fans but the whole cast kinda feels like family. Frank, I love your quips on Facebook about our butthead in chief keep up the good work. Anyway my question , do you all feel rather overwhelmed by your fans? Have the cast stayed in touch over the years? I always got the feeling that there was a closeness to the cast.
fuck yeah!!! well... maybe not. I have a ferocious side that I can tap into.
I pretty much just role my eyes and chalk it up to non-technically astute writes. However Mr. Robot has changed that and are getting things spot on.
BTW, I do type at 1,000mph, 1,024 to be exact.
No, we love all the fan support. -Frank
Yeah, the cast has stayed in touch. Except Frank and I are no longer on speaking terms. -Trace
I met everyone at the MST3K reunion and everyone was super super cool. -Carolina
Keep working at it and you may eventually get up to 2600.
There's definitely a theme of dealing with mental health issues in your film. Is this something you've dealt with personally?
Kevin! Just completed some of your training from KnowBe4 for work. I have my completion certificate hanging on my wall. But could we maybe get it in a font that's not comic sans?
Ha! I'll tell you what, get your certificate over to KnowBe4 with a copy of this thread and I'll make sure that I sign it personally.
You say parquet, I say butter. -Frank
Parquet floors? At first indifferent, but now strongly opinionated. - Carolina
hi josh, I'm not very good at english so I can't write a good question but do you like mango?
On a scale of 1-10, how paranoid are you on a regular basis?
I wouldn't call it paranoid, skeptical is a better word. It depends on the situation. Let's go with a 6.
I grew up watching MST3K with my brother in Mexico. I was always a big fan. When I first met Frank and Trace, I played it really cool. Right, Frank? -Carolina
She played it so cool, now we're the ones stalking her. -Trace
What was the most sensitive/surprising information you found out?
That a federal judge in northern California had an intercept on his line. I would check to see if any of my friends had a tap on their lines and stumbled upon the fact that a judge had one on his line.
Hard Day's Night, Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, Sweet Smell of Success. -Frank
The Ruling Class. And all the things Frank just mentioned. -Trace
The Bedsitting Room (Trace introduced me to it). Teen Witch. -Carolina
Not Sabrina the Teenage Witch? -Frank
You got second class treatment from Rosemary Telesco and continued with Katniss Everdeen. Does it hurt your feelings?
Did you ever figure out why that judge had the tap?
MST3K has been a huge favorite of mine since I was a kid and watched it with my dad! Now I watch it every Sunday night with my wife on PBS.
What's are your expectations for the most recent revival of the show and how do you think it will differ from the other three eras of the show (KTMA, Comedy Central, Sci-Fi)?
Also, what was your favorite invention on the show?
hahaha.... life imitates art...
You and I went to the same school, and you even lived in the same neighborhood as some of my close friends. We’ve never met because you always looked like you wanted privacy and I wanted to respect that, plus I’m a shy person who wouldn’t have known what to say. I’ve always wondered if you felt like you sort of missed out on your high-school experience, and if that impacted you on a social and mental level.
I’m trying to pursue my dream of becoming a published author, but sometimes I just feel like it’s never going to happen and that I’ll never be successful in the only thing that I’m passionate about. What advice would you give to someone who’s been told over and over again to give up their dream and focus on a more practical plan for their life?
Thanks for doing this AMA! It’s really awesome seeing someone from Union doing what they love!
I just want to thank you for your business card. Sadly I locked myself out of my house one day and had to take it apart in order to use the picks to break in.
In short you helped me break into a house and got me laid.
Where can I get more of your cards?
Yes. But not from working on MST3K. -Frank
And not from holding a puppet. -Trace
What are the kind of things you learned while working your blockbuster role in "The Hunger Games Trilogy"?
can you hack my wife's texts so i can find out if she's cheating on me with brett?
I met Frank at Sirius FM. I asked him to come over to my house to record a podcast episode. It was so much fun, next year we put together Movie Sign at Cave Comedy Radio. -Carolina
hey josh! the other night i was really high and felt like i was you. did you feel it too?
EDIT: okay guys this was fun but im clearly not actually dave franco, im a 23 year old canadian girl with evidently too much time on her hands. i have zero affiliation with dave franco and honestly don't know much about him this /u/ just happened to be open three years ago... anyway thanks for the 15 minutes (7 hours? idk) of fame.... but my watch has ended
EDIT 2: josh im sorry for hijacking your ama i love you lots bye
Can you use visual basic to create a GUI Interface to track the killers IP?
Are there any riffs over the years that now fill you with deep sadness? And did you ever get Frank's liver out of that vending machine?
Wait... was that monday?? I felt something then...
No need, it's already been done.
Fun fact, when I had my role on the show Alias I was still on probation and not allowed to use a computer. For my scene with a computer I had a prop computer with a monitor that was being operated remotely to follow my actions.
Frank's liver got stuck on the wire. -Trace
Still waiting on refund from vending machine company. -Frank
How do you go about choosing a script that you want to work on, both for this project and other professional work?
What would you say to teens that are into hacking? Are the consequences now worse than when you were phreaking? What projects should they channel their energy to?
Don't follow in my footsteps. Become good at offense using virtual machines and the various toolsets that are available. Learn about development and network administration to get your fundamentals before going directly into security.
The consequences are certainly more severe, and likely will only get worse. This is because of rise in publicity of hacking with public events such as the Russian hacking during the recently election and news around Edward Snowden. What your seeing in the making is a "War on Hacking" to replace the "War on Drugs".
For the The Mads show, we could never afford to riff modern movies --- what with the cost of rights. But we talk about modern movies on our podcast, of course. -Frank
Hello, Josh! As an aspiring filmmaker, I know how tedious making any sort of film can be. What gets you motivated to create? Also, what’s your favorite snack? Cause, duh, snacks are some of the best motivators.
Hey Kevin, thanks for the AMA. What motivated you to go into Hacking and what tools did you start with?
Hello Sirs.. Ever considered riffing Trump speeches and or press conferences by Spicier? Seems like a a healthy amount of royalty-free material for weekly postings? a new youtube channel? "Trumpy does stupid things"?
Honestly I think i get inspired when i see a dope movie... like when i saw moonlight i just wanted to go out and create something personal and important.
Also sitting in a restaurant looking around and making up stories about the people...
Snack..... kale. Fuk off kale!! frosted flakes
What motivated me to get into hacking was because I was involved in phone phreaking and used to pull pranks on my friends. I wanted more control of the systems involved and one thing led to another. My first tool was a telephone, after that was a VT100 terminal and a Hayes 300 baud modem. Remember I started in 1978.
That's what Twitter is doing, riffing on Trump. -Trace
What do you define as your first "big break" into acting and that business?
What was the most memorable or impressive item of the "FREE KEVIN" campaign that you recall seeing?
While I was in a Federal Detention Center in LA I could look out the very small window and was able to see an airplane with a "FREE KEVIN" banner flying around.
A lot of it depends on which movie came out that week. If it's good, it's good. If it's bad, we shit on it. -Frank
We're fair. -Carolina
And I like that we don't always agree. -Trace
Agreed. -Frank & Carolina
What kind of movies would you like to direct in the future?
Kevin, for people thinking of getting into the security industry, what particular skills do you see being the most valuable now, and the most valuable in 10 years? In other words, of which types of current emerging tracks or concepts will tomorrow's infosec managers be skilled practitioners?
Right now: It depends on what area of security, for me I'm always looking to hire expert pen testers. I look for people with skill sets in physical/technical/wireless areas.
What's hard to find today are those that have the skills to find find bugs in web apps.
10 years? I need my crystal ball because I have no fucking idea. I would say that one needs to constantly and vigilantly keep up to date with what is going on on both sides of the fence. It's a matter of keeping aware of the landscape as it evolves. 10 years in this industry is 100 years in any other industry. What did we have to watch for 10 years ago?
We just watch the movie. We proved on the original show that you don't need the internet to have a head full of useless information. -Frank
Hey Josh! Congrats on your director debut of "Ape." Were there things you did differently as an actor because you were also the director? How did it change your perspective?
Do you have kids? If so, do they realize they will never be able to pull anything secretive past their father?
Thanks for the great podcast. I just have a couple of questions.
Frank, I live down the street from QED and try to attend your show when I can. How are you able to get some amazing comedian guests? Keep up the great job. Also are you ever looking for more obscure cartoons to riff on for the show?
Trace, what's the situation with Vermin? Do you have any other ideas you plan on unleashing soon?
Carolina, were you a giant MST3k fan before you met these two? Also how often were you confused with the Colombian wrestler of the same name?
it was hard... I liked it a lot but it was tough because i couldnt watch the monitors obviously so i had to make notes in my mind while acting in the scene... i realy liked this experience though and i have somehow even more respect for directors than before.
I don't have kids yet but I believe they'll be the best social engineers in the world. They'll get good practice on their parents.
Vermin wasn't my project. I was fortunate enough to be a part of that. A lot of talented people made that show. We hope to do more episodes if we get funding. -Trace
I'm still an MST3K fan. And who the fuck is this wrestler? Carolina Hidalgo is the worst wrestler name I've ever heard. -Carolina
Hey gang! @jypsy from twitter here, three quick questions: First any chance of you guys going and doing live podcasts at all? (Bring Travis for the trivia) maybe doing Godfather or something you all love?
Secondly, what movies would you all love to do but pass on for various reasons?
Finally I discovered some mst3k trading cards and other merch is coming out soon but learned (thanks to Mary Jo Pehl), the original cast doesn't see anything from the items, so I am passing on them. Is there a chance we can get some merch to support the podcast and all of you guys? I'd gladly rep some Movie sign gear!
Keep up the great podcast, between this and the Purple Stuff Podcast, my wife and I are always entertained.
yes... they were the best! family forever. i miss them all dearly... however we still hang now and then and keep in touch.
I would probably be competing against David Copperfield as a magician because I love magic.
We mention the Godfather every episode. But we may do an episode. Frank
All of the podcast episodes link together to form the Godfather Saga. -Trace
We invite to stitch those pieces together. - Carolina
What are your thoughts on Fortran program language, is it good? Is it dead? My university is insisting that I have to learn how to program in Fortran, so here am i asking this.
Funny thing you would ask, the very first program I wrote was in Fortran. It simulated the login process of my teachers computer and I used that to phish his login credentials. I never did "hello world", I got my teacher's password as my first project.
C and Python make more sense but if the university says you need it, well, you probably should learn it. But certainly don't stop there.
There's A LOT of interest in our Mads riffing live shows, for sure. We're selling out all over the country. -Frank
Hey Kevin, big fan. What do you think your biggest accomplishment is both legal and illegal? Also, Did you have any thoughts of harming anyone (including yourself) when the FBI was coming?
My biggest accomplishment was turning my life around, lemons to lemon-aide. I'm able to take all my skills and use them to improve security. I'm extremely fortunate that I've been able to take this "mischievous" behavior and use this to help businesses to protect themselves from the other Kevin Mitnicks that are out there. Look at it this way, it's like Pablo Escobar becoming a successful pharmacist.
Edit, to answer your last question, I never thought about harming myself. I did think about trying to escape but I didn't want to end up getting shot, that would go directly against my general desire not to harm myself or others.
It's possible, but even in the 90s we were very conscious of not offending oppressed groups. -Frank
Was this role challenging for you to play and how do you think you did?
What is your favorite tool? What tool blew your mind the first time you saw it?
Burp Proxy Pro is really a great tool. XKeyscore is what blew my mind the most. Back in the 90s it was direct access to the DMV in CA.
That's my kind of question. -Frank
Your username is awesome, PEPE. - Carolina
What's the most important, or foremost thought process when attacking or protecting a digital entity?
Really thinking out of the box, expecting the unexpected. Really to me, the thought process is like puzzle solving. It's much harder to protect than it is to attack, the attacker needs only to find one hole to make it in.
I know nothing about hacking. Just out of curiosity, if someone really pissed you off with a question here, could you hack them? Is that how it works? Do you need a certain level of ability or could anyone do it with a YouTube tutorial?
If the answer is yes please don't demonstrate on me! Thanks for the AMA!
Edit: Aw, downvoted... hope I didn't seem rude...
Edit: Aw, upvoted! Glad I didn't seem rude!
No doubt. I loved it. its extremely addictive and Im feining fo some mo.
Let's take this offline, I'll email you later ;)
Hi Josh (my brothers name too) What is the most Hollywood thing you have done/seen so far?
What are your thoughts on Ed Snowdan?
dont ever come to hollywood for a vacation... its tacky and nothing like they make it seem. hah.
My position is that Ed is a whistle blower, not a traitor. I was happy when he revealed that the US government was breaking the law by spying on our citizens. That was an illegal activity and needed to be revealed.
It's my position that Ed shouldn't have revealed our operations related to the monitoring of foreign entities, that's what the NSA is expected to as part of their mission, just like foreign entities do with us. That's the spy game.
Hello Kevin, Big fan, Have read you book tons of times. I am also a fellow ham radio operator and living in North Carolina. After reading your book I had some questions.
When was the last time you ever messed around with radios and police scanners? This is one of my current hobby's.
Also, to me one of the most interesting people in your book was Jonathan "JSZ". Have you ever talked to him since 1995?
After reading you book and reading about you editing the firmware and disabling registration in the Motorola MicroTac Ultra lite , I also have always wondered how knowledgeable you are in programming languages such as C and other languages.
Hope their is sometime in the future I can meet you in NC.
prepare!! Its so important to know what you want to make so when youre there on set you have it all set up.
The script is the absolute base for everything. understad it inside and out.
Nice to meet you as well. I haven't messed around with police scanners since the 90s. I do occasional ham radio.
I've spoke Jonathan very few times, he had really distanced himself from me due to the prior history with the Shimomura hack. Now that the statue of limitations has run he has nothing to worry about.
Regarding languages, my first programming was at 21st Century Fox as a COBOL programmer. I'm familiar with many languages but modifying the existing assembly was how I did the work on the Motorola.
I look forward to meeting at some point, I don't have anything scheduled in NC at the moment. Check my website as I keep my speaking schedule there. Mitnick Security
Because Im sure you get the same questions over and over - what's your favorite day of the week, and why?
How did you meet JSZ on IRC? , Also on your laptops were you running MS-DOS?
Thursday... not becuase im here... but because i like how the word looks. and wednesday is finally over.
I believe I was introduced via friend, we did communicate via IRC and telephone. At that time we were running MS-DOS, primarily to use comms programs and store data.
Hey Josh! What's your all time favorite movie or a movie you think everyone needs to see?
Hi Kevin, Do you think the rise of crypto currency (Bitcoins, etc.) will have a net positive or negative effect on society?
Two for the Road. 60's film that was way ahead of its time and has inspried so many modern love stories. its great!
I think it's a positive effect, it gives the public another way to pay for products and services somewhat anonymously. It's just another tool that can be used by society in a positive manner.
JOSH. Huge fan, you're awesome, yadda yadda ;)
You're such a strong ally to the LGBT community. How did you get involved with your organization, Straight But Not Narrow? What is your advice to the community in the wake of certain political events?
Could you start a nuclear war just by whistling into a payphone?
We started SBNN becuase it felt like there was a lack of outreach to bridge communities together... especially in schools where bullying is brutal. I think now more than ever showing your support to your neighbors is paramount in surviving whats going on.
We are all here and human
I can not confirm or deny
Do you believe in a real life happy ending? If yes, what would you tell someone who kind of lost hope?
I love you, you're amazing! & congrats on your directing ❤
In your opinion, how much protection does software like Norton provide for a personal computer?
I think a happy ending is possible. I really believe its all about perception. If you can learn to manage that then you can find ways to be happy all the time
AV is a necessary evil for a personal system. That said, whenever I'm involved in ethical hacking we always work our way around AV.
Yooo RV was a dumpster fire of a movie...that being said, how awesome was it to work with Robin Williams??
How often do people try to hack you?
hahahahah! Robin is a saint... biggest heart in the world and never a dull moment. he was the best.
Constantly, all the time. Since there are so many ways to compromise a target I completely reload all of my systems at least once every 6 months from a trusted source. If I was on Windows I would do it every week.
What is your dream role, if you could have any in the world, and what is your dream directorial role (genre, plot, cast to direct)? If you had to pick one of these, dream role or dream directing opportunity, which would you prefer to do?
Now this is the obligatory thank-you part that I could not pass up the opportunity to post, considering how much your LGBT+ work has meant to me:
I figured this would be a good opportunity to send some well-deserved thanks your way and hope you see it…! This idea of wanting to thank you started in a letter I started writing a good few years ago now… which I still happen to have in my bedside table, because it never got sent. (I don’t think I ever figured out where to send fan-mail to you, which didn’t help my cause.)
I don’t remember, when I was younger, knowing of any out actors. I’m 20 now, but up until my mid-teens, there was a big blank space around the ideas of ‘LGBT+’ and ‘the world’ being connected for me. I’ve known I was gay since I was 11, but the experience was very isolating, not knowing any gay people in real life. I had no foundation to go on, no experience in this, and obviously felt as though I couldn’t talk with anyone about it, even though I remember very few support-type services.
I remember seeing you in Zathura (my Dad loves Jumanji, so it was bound to happen) and ever since then, I think I’ve just sort of stuck with you. I must have seen that movie when I was about 12/13, and I think that’s when I started to hear what it was you were saying, because I noticed it was relevant to me. I followed what you were saying, and as I got older and more aware of myself and the world, it really started to have an impact on me. I felt as though that was my connection, as though that was my way of learning partly about who I was.
Even though you weren’t gay, the fact that you were only a few years older than me and were into the things and the field I also enjoyed really helped me relate to you. Because I related to you and because you actually meant something to me, the message you seemed so passionate about really resonated with me and it gave me a sort of courage and hope I don’t think someone older (or just generally someone whom I didn’t look up to) would have been able to instil. For the first time, someone I liked and someone I respected was talking about this thing I wasn’t able to share with anyone else. And they were a proper force in the ‘wider world.’
I never really struggle with ‘being gay,’ but I struggled with what other people might have thought, and again your dialogue helped with that. It was just so amazing to see someone whom I respected acting in a way that showed me he would treat me and people like me just as he would any other person. Even though it wasn’t a two way conversation between us, I felt that because you were a person with such a big stature who was brave enough to say this in public, that surely you knew people like me were out there and you were at least partially talking to us.
In the big scheme of things, I didn’t have it as hard as some others do, and I never want to take that for granted. My parents are relatively liberal and Australia is an OK climate to LGBT+ in. But I still found that it was hard to relate who I was with something bigger, and it was scary thinking about whether I would have to start a journey of discovery (not just self-discovery, but a discovery of ‘everything LGBT+’ I suppose you could say) on my own. Simply said, you helped me bridge the gap that I think sometimes people forget exists, even for young LGBT+ people in “supportive” environments. Just because they’re supportive doesn’t mean they’re informative or comfortable.
Nowadays, I’m so happy when I see younger celebrities come out, because I know how much that visibility and that platform means to young LGBT+ kids who simply want to see someone like them on television or in the media. Ellen Page, Charlie Carver, Tom Daley, Troye Sivan, Gus Kenworthy, etc, are all fantastic people that I just know will help make all the difference in someone’s life, as you did in mine.
So, all in all, I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done and continue to do for me and everyone else like me! I think it’s fair to say you’re not just an ally, but a friend too. I hope one day I get to shake your hand and thank you in-person for what you’ve done.
(...well this is the most personal thing I've ever written on this website.)
Hey there Kevin, What is one area of security/hacking that you would like to improve at? What is your favorite story in hacking history that you were not a part of?
Of course! I think its beyond important to give people their voice and fair shot at what they want from life. GET OUT OF THE WAY HATERS!
Only light can drive out dark.
In the security and IT field there are so many things that are changing on a daily basis so you can't be good at everything. Right now there is a big need for people with the ability to find exploits in web apps.
An interesting bit of data is that when my company does engagements I still involve myself because I really enjoy the hacking process.
I have many favorite stories but I really enjoyed Kevin Poulsen's attack on Pacific Bell. I was very impressed by his bravado and how he would physically go into facilities. I would have liked to have met him earlier on in my hacking career when I was hacking the phone companies as that was my true love back in the 90s.
HEY JOSH! I'm so glad you have finally done an AMA!
What advice would you give you're teenage self when entering the theatre/acting community?
How accurate was the book/movie takedown ?
thick skin. actors are the most insecure and insane types of people... with that you need to have thick skin to deflect the dissapointment and let downs and judgements.
I would say the book was 90% false and defamatory, the movie was 99%. The good news is that Jeff Estin, creator of White Collar, is doing the script for Ghost in the Wires. I hope that the script is picked up and it turns into something picked up by a production company.
Hi Kevin, do you think overall computer security is getting better as we devise way's to make things more secure, or is the growing number of tech illiterate people, or even techie people who just can't be bothered to keep to good security practices off setting the gains we are making?
With knowledge.... it seems to be his biggest weakness...
It's really hard to find skilled security people, we really need to help develop people's skills in security testing. Testing security is an important step that needs to be taken.
Is it harder to be an actor or a director?
Have you thought about being in another large franchise such as the hunger games?
What's the most immoral/questionable thing you've seen while being involved in this whole hacking thing?
Hmmm. I would say that directing definitely requires a shit ton more focus and work!!! Id say thats more challenging for sure
The Albert Gonzalez case, you can read about it here
Hey Kevin. Big fan of your books, and you in general. I was wondering if you still have those nifty business cards, and how hard it would be to get one in Canada?
Thanks man. I do still have those cards and Canada shouldn't be a problem, you can get them from my website if you like, or catch me at a show.
If you could go back and give yourself any advice just before you started hacking, phreaking etc, what would it be or would you?
Don't get caught and if you're using cell phone to dial in always keep moving :P
Oh are you the one they call 4Chan? Such a good hacker. In all seriousness, anything us average computer users should be doing/avoiding that may not be common knowledge?
Finally, what did you think of the show Mr. Robot?
I'm not actually 4Chan, sorry to break that news.
Not common knowledge? Use 2 factor authentication, use a password manager, use VPN when on public WiFi, and be aware of phishing attacks. Phishing is likely the number one way someone would be able to get you.
Regarding Mr. Robot, I love it. I've had the pleasure of meeting several of the people involved with that production.
I could tell you but then I would have to kill you. Are you trying to do reconnaissance on me?
I will say I like OSX and I like the aesthetics of the Apple hardware. I'll use VM for my Windows systems. I do use Linux and I typically go with Debian or Ubuntu.
With all the news we've seen lately about security, what do you feel is under reported or over exaggerated?
I think sophistication that was behind the John Podesta phishing was highly exaggerated. This was a case of standard phishing, basic security awareness training would have prevented this. It wasn't a huge technological achievement, it was simple spear phishing.
What does your playlist consist of and what is your fuel when locked in a long work session?
I don't play music while I'm working because it's distracting. When I am listening it's Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eagles, AC/DC and other classic rock. And throw in some Eminem and Black Eyed Peas.
Why did you choose Condor as your hackername back in the day?
At the time one my favorite movies was 3 Days of the Condor. In the movie Robert Redford called up the CNA bureau to get someones number. I was impressed that the writers had included such an accurate detail.
What's your favorite pizza topping?
Also, thank you for being such an incredible human being.
Thai chicken pizza from CA Pizza kitchen!
I saw Takedown 15-ish years ago, so obviously I already know the whole story, right? :P
Yeah, not so much. Check out Ghost in the Wires for the full story.