Tech by VICE

Mr. Robot Name Drops Famous Hacker ‘The Jester’ In Season Premiere

The hacktivist "The Jester" becomes the first real-world individual hacker to be included in the popular show.

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
Jul 13 2016, 1:00pm

Image: USA Network

In Mr. Robot's new episode, the hackers of fsociety are at it again.

In an attempt to extort money from the company they're trying to destroy, they hit Evil Corp with ransomware, locking the company's computers until it shells out $6 million, what the hackers call a "daily allowance."

In the ransomware message, the show's writers have included a little easter egg, and a shout out to a well-known hacktivist who goes by the name of "th3 j35t3r" or the Jester.

The bottom of the ransomware notice appearing on Evil Corp's computers, displays the Jester's nickname, as well as one of his quotes: "There's an unequal amount of good and bad in most things. The trick is to figure out the ratio and act accordingly."

The Jester is mostly known for his cyberattacks on jihadi websites, which started as far back as 2010. Later, the hacker also targeted WikiLeaks and Anonymous, positioning himself as a pro-American, patriotic hacker. The Jester claimed to have taken down 4chan, and several sites belonging to the Westboro Baptist Church too. As part of his online spats with other activists, he tried to dox, or expose, the real identities of members of the Anonymous offshoot LulzSec.

This makes the Jester the first real-world individual to be included in the show. The notorious hacktivist gang Lizard Squad got an easter egg in the first season. And the Anonymous offshoot LulzSec was supposed to be mentioned in the pilot of the show, but its name didn't make it to the final version of the script.

"He's the Mr. Bean of wannabe cyber insurgents."

We reached out to The Jester to find out what he thought about his nickname being used inside an imaginary piece of ransomware, which is traditionally the domain of cybercriminals, not patriotic hacktivists.

"It's a fictional show man. What can I say? I'm just very honored that they put me in," Jester said in an online chat. "It's surreal to see my logo and 'name' on a TV show. I'm honored to have been asked even if, at least for now, i'm a 'bad guy' in it lol."

In fact, Jester said he actually asked Mr. Robot's makers to include him in the show.

"I did ask that my catchphrase and logo be included," he told me. "I was originally supposed to be technical consultant, but the studio wouldn't do it because I wouldn't give my actual identity. But they wanted to write me in so they did."

It's unclear if that's really how this came to be, as Mr. Robot's press representatives did not respond to a request to confirm Jester's account of how he ended up in the show.

It's a little bizarre because despite the fact that the Jester has been receiving media attention for years, there's certainly more famous, well-known hackers. He's also a controversial figure, as many don't believe he is a real hacker.

"He's the Mr Bean of wannabe cyber insurgents," Mustafa Al-Bassam, a security researcher and former LulzSec hacker, told Motherboard in a chat.

In any case, this will surely make the Jester's name even more famous, and other hackers and hacktivists a little jealous that they still haven't been a cameo, even if in a ransomware note, in the show.

mr. robot
motherboard show
The Jester
information security
Internet Insecurity
Evil Corp
Th3 J35t3r