Sunday, January 21, 2018

Wizzywig: Portrait of a Serial Hacker, by Ed Piskor

Top Shelf Productions, ISBN 9781603090971, July 2012

Kevin Phenicle is a budding young hacker in the early days of phone phreaking. He's smart, he's shy, he's not really social, not close to anyone except his grandma and his friend Winston. And he's just fascinated by computers and what you can do with them.

And all the information you can access with them, and a little ingenuity and social engineering.

Kevin in not a bad kid. He's a good kid. Even his first prison term doesn't change that.

He's in or near all the big developments in hacking over the next few decades. Except for a tendency to think stealing services from major corporations, like what is still Ma Bell for the early part of his career, he's honest, kind, respectful of others.

It's a view of the hacker world from the viewpoint of the hackers. The excesses of government responses is clearly portrayed, while the real and sometimes major damage that could be done by hackers is perhaps less clearly portrayed. It's worth noting that the totally over the top raid on a gaming company described in the story is, in fact, quite real, and as paranoically crazy as it's portrayed.

Kevin is likable, so is the often frustrated and perplexed Winston, and the art is good. It's an interesting look at the hacker world from a perspective not often seen.

Recommended.

I bought this book.