Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to
Quillblog

Mafiaboy is repentant … the Mafia, not so much

There’s a new book out by Michael Calce, aka Mafiaboy, the young internet hacker who caused turmoil eight years ago when he hacked some of the biggest websites around ” including Yahoo, eBay, and CNN ” resulting in millions of dollars of losses and an international manhunt that eventually involved both the RCMP and the FBI. Calce, only 15 years old at the time, was eventually tracked down and arrested in Montreal, where he subsequently pleaded guilty to a staggering 56 charges. He was sentenced to eight months in a group home.

Now 23, the erstwhile hacker is apologetic for the chaos he precipitated, and wants to warn the world that the online environment is not secure from copycat hackers who might still wreak untold havoc. Calce told the CBC that his book, Mafiaboy: How I Cracked the Internet and Why It’s Still Broken, written with Craig Silverman, is meant in part as a warning about the dangers of not taking internet security seriously:

“The idea is to convey a message to the general public that it’s crazy how people are putting their whole life online ” online banking, Facebook, dating,” Calce says.

“The technology is becoming more and more incorporated in our life and it’s becoming less and less secure. I see a big problem there and I want to bring this issue to the public.”

Although it appears that Mafiaboy has changed his ways, the actual Mafia is not so easily swayed. The CBC is also reporting that the Neapolitan Mafia has stepped up its efforts to assassinate author Roberto Saviano, whose 2006 book, Gomorra, brought him acclaim, international bestsellerdom, and a death threat from the organized crime organization. Saviano has been in hiding since the book’s release, but the renewed threat on his life has prompted him to flee his native Italy, at least temporarily.

Saviano told the daily La Repubblica that he’s planning to leave the country after reports surfaced that the Neapolitan Mafia, known locally as the Camorra, is stepping up its plans to assassinate him by Christmas.

“I shall leave Italy, at least for a period and then we’ll see,” said the author, who has faced repeated death threats from the Casalesi crime clan of Naples.

“I want a life. I want a home. I want to fall in love. I want to [be able to] drink a beer in public, go to a bookshop and choose a book after browsing the back cover,” said the 28-year-old writer.

Saviano bemoans the two years he has spent in hiding under 24-hour police protection, saying that his “humanity has been impoverished.”