King of the Hackers

March 8th, 2011

We tend to think of hackers as misanthrope teenagers locked in the back bedroom. In fact hacking, or at least the modern variant of it, is part of a sophisticated international crime network, that stretches from the Bay Area to the furthest reaches of the world. Fueled by the easy and international movement of money in a globalized economy, stolen data is turned into billions of illegal dollars. Kevin Poulsen, once a hacker himself, now the senior editor of Wired.com, in his book Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground, takes us through the story of Max Butler, a hacker extraordinaire who would ultimately receive the longest prison sentence ever handed out to a hacker. My conversation with Kevin Poulsen: