Jeremy N. Smith
Breaking and Entering:
The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called "Alien"
in conversation with ALIEN
This event includes a book signing
January 9, 2019
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes writer and public speaker JEREMY N. SMITH—author of Epic Measures and Growing a Garden City—for a discussion of his latest book, Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called "Alien". He will be joined in conversation by ALIEN herself.
About Breaking and Entering
This taut, true thriller dives into a dark world that touches us all, as seen through the brilliant, breakneck career of an extraordinary hacker—a woman known only as Alien.
When she arrived at MIT in the 1990s, Alien was quickly drawn to the school’s tradition of high‑risk physical trespassing: the original “hacking.” Within a year, one of her hallmates was dead and two others were arraigned. Alien’s adventures were only just beginning.
After a stint at the storied, secretive Los Alamos National Laboratory, Alien was recruited by a top cybersecurity firm where she deployed her cache of virtual weapons—and the trespassing and social engineering talents she had developed while “hacking” at MIT. The company tested its clients’ security by every means possible—not just coding, but donning disguises and sneaking past guards and secretaries into the C‑suite.
Alien now runs a boutique hacking outfit that caters to some of the world’s biggest and most vulnerable institutions—banks, retailers, government agencies. Her work combines devilish charm, old‑school deception, and next generation spycraft. In Breaking and Entering, cybersecurity finally gets the rich, character‑driven, fast-paced treatment it deserves.
“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 . . . A page-turning real-life thriller, this is the sort of book that may leave readers feeling both invigorated and vulnerable.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Scintillating . . . Alien’s mindset and exploits epitomize 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
“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.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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