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.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- 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.
- Mobile Policy Checklist
- Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Mobile Applications Case Study: 8 Billion Transactions a Day
- The story documents how the online brokerage company tradeMONSTER created a custom mobile app and the success gleaned from this initiative. Also covered...
- Who's afraid of the big (data) bad wolf? Survive the big data storm by getting ahead of integration and governance functional requirements
- This paper provides a detailed review of the best practices clients should consider before embarking on their big data integration projects.
- Understanding big data so you can act with confidence
- Automating information integration and governance and employing it at the point of data creation helps organizations boost confidence in their big data. All Government IT White Papers
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- PST Archiving: What is it and How is it Done? Learn more about what PST data is, the risks relating to it, and how the new PST Archiving feature in the Simpana 10...
- How to Select the Right IoT Platform We are rapidly entering a world where almost everything will be connected to the cloud and managing these connected things and leveraging the...
- All Government IT Webcasts