Hackers' Paradise

Edwin Tuyay for TIME.

A not so clean, poorly lit room and a phone line is all hacker Eyestrain needs.

In a small, hot room in Caloocan city, one of Manila's shoddy suburbs, a 21-year-old man-child perches on a chair and turns the fan up to high. Yellow paint peels from the walls. There is no running water. The bed is a dirty mattress on a steel frame. But enthroned on a makeshift table sits a workstation worthy of a cash-rich start-up. The man leans toward his crisp, new 19-inch monitor and gets down to business. He surfs to the archive of an online florist and peruses someone's recent order for roses, complete with a mushy love letter. But this man,...

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