Adrian Lamo, who hacked Microsoft and Yahoo, passes away at the age of 37
Adrian Lamo, a Colombian-American threat analyst and former hacker, has died at the age of 37. He was best known for passing on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning.
Lamo, who was also occasionally known as the “homeless hacker” for his nomadic life, died in Sedgwick County, Kansas on Friday. Although the exact reason behind Lamo’s death is unknown, the coroner for Sedgwick County, Kansas, confirmed his death without giving more details, according to ZDNet.
Lamo’s death was also confirmed by his father, Mario Lamo who in the Facebook group “2600 | The Hacker Quarterly,” posted a tribute to his son on Friday.
“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,” wrote Mario Lamo in a Facebook post.
Lamo first gained media attention in the early 2000s for breaking into several high-profile computer networks, including those of The New York Times, Yahoo, and Microsoft, culminating in his 2003 arrest when he eventually turned himself in. He was sentenced to six months of home detention, along with 2 years of probation and a $60,000 fine.
However, Lamo gained worldwide notoriety in 2010 for disclosing to the FBI that the transgender U.S. soldier, Chelsea Manning – then Bradley Manning and an intelligence analyst for a U.S. Army unit in Iraq – had leaked confidential information to WikiLeaks. Manning had reached out to Lamo via a messaging app and told him that she had gained access to hundreds of thousands of classified documents and had leaked to Wikileaks a video of a U.S. military forces in a helicopter machine indiscriminately gunning down journalists and Iraqi civilians. But, Lamo chose to report him and informed the U.S. military of the breach.
Held responsible for the biggest breach of classified data in U.S. history, Manning was convicted by court martial of 20 offences including espionage after sharing over 700,000 confidential files with WikiLeaks. Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but was granted clemency by former President Barack Obama, who said her jail term was “disproportionate.”
Looking back on his decision to give up Manning, Lamo told US News and World Report in 2017 that it was “not [his] most honorable moment”.
However, he added that he had learned a lot from the experience, including that “you can’t really know a person or their motives unless you’ve sat where they sat and seen the situation through their eyes, no matter how much you believe you do”.
“So many people think they know why I did what I did or what I was thinking or why I made my choice,” he added. “And almost without exception they’re wrong.”