Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was once in the news for informing the FBI about Chelsea Manning, the WikiLeaks whistleblower, has passed away at the young age of 37 but the cause of Adrian’s death is yet to be determined.
The news of Adrian’s death was announced by his father Mario Lamo-Jiménez in a Facebook post according to which “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son…”
Adrian first made the news back in 2001 when he exploited a vulnerability in the content management tool used by Yahoo to edit Reuters article to add a fake statement attributing to John Ashcroft who was Attorney General during George W. Bush administration.
In February 2002 Adrian hacked The New York‘s internal computer network after identifying multiple vulnerabilities. He also accessed a database containing details of 3,000 contributors to the paper’s op-ed page, among other things.
In December 2002 Worldcom, a defunct U.S.-based telecommunications company hailed Adrian for identifying and informing the company about critical security flaws in their cyber infrastructure.
Adrian was also known as “The Homeless Hacker” due to his on the move lifestyle. Kaspersky Labs listed him on number 3 as “Top Ten Most Notorious (Infamous) Hackers of All Time.”
In 2010 Chelsea Manning who was stationed in Iraq had access to highly sensitive documents belonging to the US military which Manning ended up leaking to WikiLeaks including a 17-minute helicopter footage showing US military shooting and killing Iraqi civilians including Namir Noor-Eldeen, an Iraqi freelance war photojournalist.
Manning also disclosed the leaking of the secret document to Adrian who then tipped off the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This led to Manning’s arrest and a long-term prison sentence before being commuted by former president Barak Obama.
Adrian, on the other hand, denied any wrongdoing and justified his decision. On his official Facebook page while replying to a comment about Manning’s suicide
In a response to another Facebook comment accusing him of betraying Manning, Andrian wrote that “Please, tell me the laws I’ve broken. I can wait.”
Image credit: Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA)