Threat Level Privacy, Crime and Security Online
Lost Hacking Documentary Surfaces on Pirate Bay
* By Kevin Poulsen Email Author
* May 20, 2010 |
* 12:00 pm |
* Categories: intellectual property
After collecting cobwebs in a studio vault for the better part of a decade, an unreleased documentary on the 2003 hacking scene leaked onto the Pirate Bay Thursday.
Narrated by actor Kevin Spacey, the 90-minute Hackers Wanted follows the exploits of Adrian Lamo, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to cracking the internal network of The New York Times. The film was produced by Spacey’s Trigger Street production company, and includes interviews with Kevin Rose and Steve Wozniak.
Lamo says the film had been bogged down by conflicts among the producers and crew. “It’s ironic that a film about overcoming barriers, about new technologies, about thinking differently, had to come to the public eye by being hacked out of the hands of people who, after making a film about the free flow of information, tried to lock away that information forever,” says Lamo. “The truth tends to itself.”
Lamo adds that he had nothing to do with the leak.
Lamo made his mark early in the decade with a string of brazen hacks against large companies, characterized by a flair and sense of humor that appear quaint in today’s era of for-profit hacking and multi-million credit card theft.
In 2001, when he was 20, the hacker snuck into an unprotected content-management tool at Yahoo’s news site to tinker with a Reuters story, adding a made-up quote by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Lamo went on to stage other hacks, alerting the press to each one and often working with the hacked company to close the security holes he exploited. His targets included Microsoft, Excite@Home, Worldcom and The New York Times, which pressed charges.
Unemployed and prone to wander the country by Greyhound, Lamo gained the appellation “the Homeless Hacker.” When he surrendered to face charges for the Times hack, the Trigger Street camera crew was in tow. He was ultimately sentenced to six months home confinement at his parents’ house and two years of probation.
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