Meet the man who helped Lamo turn in Manning, the Wikileaker
IDG News Service - In early June 2010 security pro Chet Uber got a phone call from Adrian Lamo, a well-known hacker he had worked with for a year in a volunteer-run intelligence organization. Lamo had received classified documents from a U.S. Army intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning and wanted advice about what to do. Uber told Lamo to turn Manning in.
"Put it in a bag, take it off your computer, wipe your drive and I'm going to call you back in 10 minutes," Uber said he told Lamo, recalling his brush with Manning whose documents revealing secret details of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were eventually published on Wikileaks, setting off a U.S. government investigation and leading to Manning's arrest on July 29. Uber recalled the incident during a press conference at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas on Sunday.
After Lamo called him, Uber contacted the U.S. Department of Defense and set things up with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigation for Lamo to report the documents. He then called Lamo back and told him how to do that.
"I used my connections to make sure that the three-letter agencies knew about it," said Uber, who directs Project Vigilant, a volunteer-run effort to dig up intelligence on "bad actors," such as terrorists and drug cartels. Lamo has worked as a volunteer with the group since 2009, providing "adversary characterization," which helps its members understand the different types of computer intruders that they may be dealing with.
In an e-mail inteview, Lamo confirmed Uber's account. "Mr. Uber was, among a few others, an instrumental voice in helping me to come to my ultimate decision" to contact the authorities.
Uber does not know how WIkileaks obtained the documents, but said they came from another source. Wikileaks has not confirmed that Manning was the source of the documents, but has offered to defend him in court.
Uber said he came forward Sunday because he was disturbed by the characterization -- particularly strong in the hacker community -- of Lamo as a "narc."
"He did a patriotic thing. He sees all kinds of hacks and stuff every day. He was seriously worried about people dying," he said. "Someone put him in a bad position. Brad should have never given him those documents."
It was not an easy decision for Lamo, Uber said. "He was very apprehensive. He likes Brad. Brad and he had a kinship, he told me."
Lamo could have destroyed the documents, Uber thinks he essentially had no choice because the military standard for destroying secret documents is so high. "He would run the risk of possessing those documents if they found fragments in his garbage can."
Lamo, who earned fame as the so-called homeless hacker, had previously been convicted on federal charges of breaking into the computer systems of companies such as The New York Times and Microsoft.
This state transportation department uses computer science students from a local university as programming interns, and everyone is happy with the arrangement -- until one intern learns how to bring down the mainframe.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings
- This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools
- The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution
- In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- Pragmatic Endpoint Management: Empowering an SMB Workforce in the Age of Mobility
- Lacking the time for proper training and education, SMB administrators often resort to taking shortcuts to keep their environment running.This paper discusses the... All Government IT White Papers
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the...
- Endpoint Data Management: Protecting the Perimeter of the Internet of Things Not surprisingly, "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Big Data present new challenges AND opportunities for enterprise IT. Teams need to harness, secure and...
- How to Protect Enterprise Data Yet Enable Secure Access for End Users Learn how BYOD, Big Data and the use of rogue applications and devices is putting corporate data at risk, best practices from IT...
- All Government IT Webcasts