We’ve all watched some form of computer hacking on TV or in movies. Someone requires information from an FBI database or a file needs to be retrieved from a secure and encrypted drive, and so the hacker is sent in. He comes in with a very fancy laptop, pops in a cable or a drive, connects to the server or computer, and starts hammering away at the keyboard. Lines and lines of green alpha-numeric text on a black screen, in just one of the multiple windows that he has open, till finally, he looks up and after a dramatic pause says to two words, “I’m in”. Pretty much sums up every hacking scene you’ve seen right? Well in real life, hacking is just a little different, and Goan born Gautam Mayekar has made it the centre of a thrilling story in his debut novel, I’m so hacked.
I’m so hacked revolves around @v!, a hacker who spends his days working in India’s number one anti-virus company as a security researcher and his nights, crawling through underground hacking forums. He is completely unmotivated and lacks purpose until he receives a letter from M@dR1; a mysterious revolutionary who wants to create a “change” in the world. M@dR1 uses @v!’s horrific past to motivate him, and guides him through various tasks, starting with shutting down the internet services of the entire city.
A series of mayhem, manipulation and mystery ensues as @v! begins hallucinating various events and people from his former life, before he became a reclusive hacker. He is thrown into a barrage of uncertainty and confusion as his perception of reality begins to shift out of focus. Meanwhile, M@dR1 and @v! prepare for a major cyber-attack that will rock the foundation of the country’s technological unit, with the help of @v!’s friends, $@m and K!LL3R. Will they accomplish their goals? Or will @v!’s increasing delusion lead to their downfall? Sounds pretty intriguing.
Gautam Mayekar, the author of I’m so hacked was born and raised in Goa. An alumnus of St. Anthony High School, and St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, he completed his Bachelor’s in Engineering at PCCE, before moving out of Goa to start his professional career. As a certified white hat ethical hacker, Mayekar is part of the Technical Staff for Product Security at TIBCO Software Inc, an American IT company with an office in Pune. He’s also worked with antivirus specialists Quick Heal, and a cloud security company called Qualys Inc.
Mayekar comes from a line of teachers and writers, so inclination toward the written word was inherent. He grew up reading classics like The Great Gatsby, and cult favourites like American Psycho. He’s also a huge Tarantino and Nolan fan. It wasn’t until he saw an Orkut community dedicated to the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam being hacked, that he was bitten by the bug. It was while he was working with Quick Heal that he came across an unknown hacker that ended up becoming the inspiration for I’m so hacked.