The Kid Who Wrote the Code that Literally Broke the Internet

Hacker turned security expert Samy Kamkar photographed in Los Angeles, Calif.

Hacker turned security expert Samy Kamkar photographed in Los Angeles, Calif.

People talk about breaking the Internet all the time. Samy Kamkar actually did it. Back in 2005 the infamous hacker birthed a worm that brought the world’s then most popular website to a crashing halt, a crime that banned him from touching a computer for three years. Today Samy is a white hat security expert, exposing systems flaws so that companies can patch them before the bad guys get in. He also informs the public about privacy infractions happening all around us. Samy’s credits include the discovery of tracking software once used by mobile device manufacturers like Apple and Google, and the creation of Evercookie – a persistent piece of code that Edward Snowden revealed the NSA was using to keep tabs on folks.

I made photos of Samy recently in his Los Angeles home. The conversation was nothing short of eye-opening and, to be honest, a little frightening. One of Samy’s thoughts that rings in my head is that “if we can’t see it, we assume it’s safe.” We are clearly less than safe.

Freaks of the Industry

I have always felt like my chef friends and I share more in common than not. We are all fearless but insecure. Creative and independent, yet fiercely committed to community. Give us all the same goal and tools, and each of us will produce something deeply our own. Add the fact that we share the trait of being beautiful degenerates — and the lines blur even more. Freaksoftheindustry is proof positive.