Offline, the computer hacker knows as “Alien” is a station-wagon-driving mother of two. Professionally, she’s a world-class digital break-in artist who has hacked into airlines, hospitals, law firms, and retail outlets on behalf of the government and top-level corporations who wanted to test their security. When journalist and author Jeremy N. Smith—an Evanston native who now lives in Missoula, Montana and was an old acquaintance of Alien’s—heard what she’d been up to since graduating from MIT in the 1990s, he knew he wanted to take a deep dive into her brilliant, breakneck career and the glimpse it offers all of us into issues like cybersecurity, cryptojacking, data breaches, ransomware, and many more threats lurking beneath the surface of all of our online lives.
Both Jeremy Smith and Alien will be with us tonight to discuss Jeremy’s new book Breaking and Entering, which reads like an action-packed fictional thriller but is in fact a thoroughly researched, disturbingly true look at an increasingly powerful threat to everyone’s privacy and security.
Jeremy N. Smith has written for the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Discover, and has been featured on CNN, NPR, and Wired. A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana, Smith is the author of Growing a Garden City and Epic Measures.
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