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Breaking and Entering


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Hackers know everything about us. We know almost nothing about them. Until now.

About the Author

Jeremy N. Smith has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Discover, among other outlets, and he and his work have been featured by CNN, NPR News, and Wired. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana, he is the author of Growing a Garden City and Epic Measures. He lives in Montana.


`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.' -Kirkus `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 Hackers, 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 at 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 Praise for Epic Measures: `A thumping narrative about trends shaping the future.' -Los Angeles Review of Books 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: `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

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