Breaking and Entering: the extraordinary story of a hacker called `Alien' (Paperback)Jeremy N. Smith (author)
- In stock online
Hackers know everything about us. We know almost nothing about them. Until now.
The hacker now known as Alien entered MIT in 1998, intending to major in aerospace engineering. Almost immediately, she was recruited to join a secret student group scaling walls, breaking into buildings, pulling elaborate pranks, and exploring computer systems. Within a year, one of her hall mates was dead and two others were arraigned. And Alien's adventures were only beginning.
Breaking and Entering is a whirlwind history of the last 20 years of hacking and cybersecurity. As Alien develops from teenage novice to international expert, she joins the secret vanguard of our digitised world, and reveals the forces at work behind our everyday technology.
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 22 mm
`A novelistic tech tale that puts readers on the front lines of cybersecurity. For all whose lives and connections depend on the internet - nearly everyone - this biography of the pseudonymous "Alien" provides a fast-paced cautionary tale. Jeremy Smith has enough experience as a computer programmer to understand the technicalities of this world, but his storytelling makes it intelligible to general readers; indeed, the narrative is more character-driven than technology-driven ... Smith goes into great detail to demonstrate how Alien could penetrate the security of whomever was employing her, showing how a real criminal would do it, and makes fearfully clear that there is "no such thing as absolute security in this world, or any definitive and final fixes." A page-turning real-life thriller, this is the sort of book that may leave readers feeling both invigorated and vulnerable.' STARRED REVIEW* Kirkus *
`[An] enthralling book about the murky world of hacking and those who try and stop it.'-- Mark Mason * Daily Mail *
`Scintillating ... Alien's mindset and exploits epitomise the spirit of hacking - a dogged perseverance directed at outsmarting and outwitting barriers of any kind ... An unabashedly human and humane portrait of a brilliant hacker.'-- Gabriella Coleman, author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy
`In Breaking and Entering, Jeremy Smith reveals the human side of cybersecurity. The book covers the vast spectrum of why and how hackers do what they do. A great thriller!'-- Paul de Souza, founder, director, and president of the Cyber Security Forum Initiative
`Hunter S. Thompson famously said "Only life can kill you" and the hackers who pushed their minds and bodies to the limit at MIT tested this theory in every conceivable way. Alien survived and managed to escape, but life was no easy road from that point on. This story of all that she has overcome and accomplished holds a mirror to the challenges and triumphs that are part of the journeys of so many women in tech and so many hackers in America.'-- Deviant Ollam, author of Practical Lock Picking and Keys to the Kingdom
`A joy. With wit and masterful storytelling, Jeremy Smith takes the reader inside information security. Alien encounters sex and drugs, bureaucracy and exploitative bosses, and the stresses of running a business and family - and she never stops hacking.'-- Skylar Rampersaud, Senior Security Researcher at Immunity Inc.
`Every hacker has his or her story. This book weaves a riveting tale of one woman's journey from the catacombs of MIT's hacking culture to becoming the CEO of a computer security consulting company. There are plenty of technical computer security books, but I am often asked about how to get started in hacking. This book tells the human side of that story.'-- Jamie Butler, Chief Technology Officer at Endgame Inc.
`A thoroughly entertaining read! Breaking and Entering recounts the journey of one skilled hacker, Alien, as she navigates her way from the bowels of MIT's hidden corridors to the top of the infosec community. In the best tradition of the movie Sneakers, Jeremy Smith illuminates the pivotal role played by white hat hackers in protecting our most important assets.'-- Eli Sugarman, Cyber Initiative Program Officer, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
`Breaking and Entering is an awesome, beautiful, and sometimes nerve-wracking story. It is also the story of someone unafraid to delve into the boundaries of what is possible and to act courageously in the face of what she learned. The technical references are relevant, accurate, and most importantly, accessible, including for non-technical readers. And Alien's career and life story arc are things anyone trying to chart their course in life can relate to.'-- Soren Spies, former president of Technology House at Brown University
`Smith ... serves a fascinating and entertaining account ... Vignettes careen from gripping to funny and show the critical need for regular testing, as security breaching in elections and corporate and personal identity theft are growing industries ... Like an espionage thriller, this account ensnares readers into the high-stakes world of computer security, told through Alien's emergence as a recognized expert in a male-dominated profession. It will reach audiences of enthusiastic hackers and general readers.'-- Karl Helicher * Library Journal *
`[A] book that reads like a fictional thriller while remaining solidly grounded in fact ... Smith's book is remarkably easy to read. Although hacking can involve very complex programming tactics and systems architecture issues that lay readers would struggle to understand, the author keeps the technical side of the story manageable and easy to follow ... Breaking and Entering is an engaging cautionary tale of security vulnerabilities and the constant threat of cyber attacks that businesses and institutions face on a daily basis.'-- Michael J. McCann * New York Journal of Books *
`When the woman now known as Alien turned up at MIT more than 20 years ago, she took a while to figure out that what interested her was hacking. First, in the term's original meaning, came physical trespassing, but eventually she settled on computer hacking and wound up working for a company that specialized in testing business security systems. Later, she founded her own cybersecurity firm. This riveting book follows Alien as she transforms herself from a young woman up for pretty much any challenge, no matter how dangerous, to a woman who is among the best in the world at what she does. Freelance journalist Smith writes with gusto, giving Alien's story the feel of a novel (or, perhaps, a movie along the lines of 1995's Hackers). The world of hacking and cybersecurity still carries a mystique; only the privileged few are permitted to learn the secrets that lie within the close-knit hacker community. This book opens the gates and invites readers inside. It's not only a powerful story about a specific hacker; it's also a fascinating look at the hacking world, in general.'-- David Pitt * Booklist *
`Smith's writing style...is crisp as he charts the course of Alien's life in a series of vignettes from uncertain undergraduate to successful business owner. The structure works because Smith is a lively storyteller.'* The New York Times Book Review *
`Amusing and cautionary tale.'* WORLD Magazine *
`A fascinating look at hacking and the cybersecurity industry that has evolved. Alien is one bad-ass woman!'* The Missoulian *
`Jeremy Smith's novelistic biography of the famous female hacker known only as Alien reads like a fictional thriller ... This is a fascinating, well told story that will have you looking nervously at your `smart watch', and even your baby monitor.'-- Jeff Popple * Canberra Weekly *
`Using dialogue to recreate past scenes, this is a pacy, sharply written tale.'* Sydney Morning Herald *
`Breaking and Entering is very much a profile book, never straying from Alien's perspective, but it does hint towards the broader story cybersecurity and how pivotal the role of hackers - the black and white hates - will be on society in the years to come. FOUR STARS* Good Reading *
`Breaking and Entering drops you down a virtual rabbit hole, into the digital playground of hackers and cybersecurity ... an eye-opening entree into the personal and professional life of a smart, committed, daring hacker - an Alien encounter that's worth having.'-- Julie Cook * North and South *
Praise for Epic Measures:
`Jeremy Smith's engaging story of a man obsessed with the numbers, and the mortal dramas they tell, reads like a novel and is better than any textbook or survey of this planet's health.'-- Paul Farmer, Co-Founder of Partners In Health, and Co-Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Praise for Epic Measures:
`A thumping narrative about trends shaping the future.'* Los Angeles Review of Books *
Praise for Epic Measures:
`Jeremy Smith tells an inspiring story of how a simple idea, conceived logically and pursued with grit, can greatly improve the human condition.'-- Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University