Friday, March 20, 2009

Hacker Cracker - Book Review

Hacker Cracker
by Ejovi Nuwere and David Chanoff
Harper Collins

By age 21, Nuwere had grown from a precocious child in Brooklyn's embattled Bedford -Stuyvesant neighborhood to a well-established Internet security specialist for a major investment bank.

In between, he served a long stint as a renegade though ultimately benign hacker, an experience that gave him much-needed background for his professional career.

Written with Chanoff, his memoir is an appealing primer to hacker culture matched with the personal story of being raised by an extended family (due to Nuwere's mother's death from AIDS) in an impoverished environment.

Nuwere's adventures in the computing underworld primarily include phishing, or conning Internet users into divulging credit card information; making free phone calls using stolen 800 numbers; and exploring the computer systems of major corporations in order to better understand their intricacies.

Unfortunately, much of the drama is mitigated by the blacking out of the name of the company most seriously hacked by Nuwere, as well as the name of the project in development that he was busted for entering ("We kept going deeper and deeper into [blacked out] until we reached the computers that actually controlled the [blacked out] that was all over the news").

This continues for some pages, making it difficult for readers to maintain interest in this pivotal episode. Superfluous details about Nuwere's high school experiences and martial arts tournaments are not well integrated with the more compelling hacker narrative. Nonetheless, this is an empathetic, revealing account of a new breed of insurgents.

At the end of the book, Ejovi was working for a major Financial institute out of the Jersey City office. On September 11 (2001), Ejovi was in Manhattan still on his way to work, when the towers fell. The next day when he went to the Jersey City office, the employees had to spend several days hurriedly putting togteher a network of computers and hooking them up to the company intranet and databases. This had to be done because many of the company's networks and databases were lost when the towers fell. He worked for Lehman Brothers. (see below)

One of the hacking groups that Ejovi joined while he was in high school was called
Ejovi attended the High School for Graphic Arts in Manhattan.
The first job Ejovi got out of high school was with TGIX - aka Thaumaturgix. He was at this company for two and a half years.

Video Interview by Ejovi Nuwere

Ejovi's blog - but he does not post too often.

Ejovie now runs his own company - Security Labs. On the website it mentions that he used to work for Lehman brothers out of Jersey City. Lehman Brother's equities e-commerce office, was located on the 40th Floor in One World Trade Center.

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