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Adrian Lamo  (Source: Facebook)
"My dad has an iPad, and I haven't even brought this up to him." -- Adrian Lamo

Ex-hacker and alleged "war crimes collaborator" Adrian Lamo has garnered a great deal of attention lately from his role in outing Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning, a young U.S. Military official who was leaking sensitive documents, including some which Lamo believed endangered national security.

We conducted an extensive interview with Lamo in which he carefully detailed his motives in the Manning case.  Since that interview we've kept in close touch with Lamo and were interested when he contacted concerning the recent harvest of iPad 3G emails/ICC-IDs by security analysts at Goatse Security.  As Lamo is much more qualified to analyze such security issues than us (our staff certainly hasn't conducted exploits as epic as Lamo's, nor do we have enough time to devote to properly reading security mailing lists), we contacted him promptly for an interview.

We started by asking if he knew whether Goatse Security shared the exploit with any malicious parties pre-patching or whether they shared the emails (a key question in determining their guilt or innocence).  Lamo replied that he had not heard of them doing that, stating, "I haven't seen any, though to be fair, I was fairly busy during all times relevant."

As to whether the researchers broke any federal laws or behaved immorally, Lamo comments:
I think it's nice to see a real example of media whoring to contrast against media promiscuity. 

If I could be charged with submitting a web form that had no authentication or security or warnings, it'd stand to reason that they could.

Morally wrong? It was certainly poor netiquette.
We pushed Lamo on whether it was fair for them to go to the media, considering Apple/AT&T have reportedly still not fixed an iPad browser vulnerability they previously disclosed.  Lamo was quick to comment, "Allegedly found themselves ignored."

We asked him what if their claims were legitimate though.  He then comments, "Well, lord knows that can's a little-known fact that I started out running"

When asked why he was skeptical about the claims, then, Lamo responded:
Oh, nothing specific. Just that it's a convenient claim. But as someone who's made a number of convenient claims which happen to be true, these things happen. 

If I were less ethical it'd be ideal to find a reason to cast doubt on that claim. God knows I can't launch cruise missiles to distract from a scandal like a sitting president might.
As to the recent arrest of Goatse Security hacker Escher Auernheimer who was involved with the incident, Lamo comments:
There's nothing to make of it, really.  The warrant being executed was probably related to the AT&T thing, unless he was running multiple simultaneous criminal enterprises. they found stuff that warranted local charges, and those charges were filed.  It's only news by confluence of events.

Like if I got arrested for hooking tomorrow, for instance. odds are, it'd be news, but would it on its own be news? No. Would it be legitimately related to the Manning case?  No.  But tech media would feel compelled to report on it, and I'd find it hard to fault them."

Unless I was Marion Barry. Then it'd just be funny.

Was the worst case scenario that someone might spam the iPad owners, including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, or could more sophisticated attacks be carried out with the info?  Lamo opines, "As an AT&T subscriber, I have to say, I've found fairly little the information would be useful for.  Other than being mediagenic. Or mediapathic, if you're AT&T.  Which is exactly how it was leveraged.  So, worst case scenario pretty much executed.  If you assume they didn't sell the list to Eastern European spammers."

We ask Lamo:
So the bottom line then -- given the minimal risks, AT&T customers shouldn't be concerned, right, past taking standard security precautions like using a strong password, employing a spam filter, and not responding to requests to retrieve lost information?

Lamo responds:
My dad has an iPad, and I haven't even brought this up to him. 

I'm usually the least alarmist security expert in the rolodex though, and tend to get bumped for someone who allocutes that it's absolutely a critical concern for all involved, and could compromise nat'l security too.
There you have it.  According to at least one top expert, the Goatse issue is being blown out of proportion.  That does, however, raise some interesting questions given that the story was leaked by Gawker Media, which certainly has an ax to grid with AT&T/Apple.  However, that's perhaps a topic best left for future pieces...

DailyTech would like to thank Mr. Lamo for taking the time to conduct this interview.  All quotes from the interview are unedited, other than fixes to capitalization of the word "i" for consistency, and added capitalization to the start of sentences to improve readability.

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By zmatt on 6/21/2010 12:02:13 AM , Rating: 3
do all of the DT pictures of him involve him walking through a subway, talking on a cell phone, looking away from the camera and with a blurred background?

RE: why
By Obujuwami on 6/21/2010 12:28:22 AM , Rating: 3
Does it matter? They could have put a picture of roast beef sandwich and it wouldn't matter. Whats important is what he said and his opinion on the subject discussed in the article.

RE: why
By bh192012 on 6/21/2010 1:13:38 PM , Rating: 5
You have to admit, a picture of a roast beef sandwich sounds pretty good though right?

RE: why
By tastyratz on 6/21/2010 1:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
I went from thirsty for knowledge to hungry for roast beef in just 1 sentence and there is none to be found. Thanks Dailytech.

RE: why
By Cullinaire on 6/21/2010 1:27:46 AM , Rating: 4
Because he's a master of PR, that's why.

RE: why
By Samus on 6/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: why
By zmatt on 6/21/2010 7:53:39 AM , Rating: 3
You know he already has one right? he was arrested in 2003 for hacking a lot of big name corporations. Hence the title ex-hacker.

RE: why
By hughlle on 6/21/2010 5:02:05 AM , Rating: 1
i think blurred background would probably be a moving train.. being a subway station and all.

RE: why
By zmatt on 6/21/2010 8:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
That isn't the only thing blurred. Looks like an intentionally slow shutter speed to make everything look fast. he studied journalism and marketing after his parole was up so I bet he is trying to engineer an image.

RE: why
By icrf on 6/21/2010 9:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
From the caption: (Source: Facebook)

I'm guessing that's just what he put up as his own Facebook pic. I doubt DT is putting any more effort than that into it.

There is a saying...
By Daniel8uk on 6/21/2010 4:09:44 AM , Rating: 3
You know, it has been known for many ages, past down by many wise men and so rooted in the tales of the Interwebs, yet DT has just broken that rule.. Yes, they have just fed the addiction of a troll, that troll is no other than Lamo.

This guy is just out for the attention and it's rather sickening that DT would give him that after what he's done.

Why is DT spending time on this "security expert"
By BZDTemp on 6/21/2010 6:38:16 AM , Rating: 2
Surely there must be more worth while persons to talk with on such issues.

Next Lamo will go on tour giving lectures which again will lead to him being in a reality show...

By Snow01 on 6/21/2010 8:51:59 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe why someone has posted the rather poignant message at the site Lamo is "little known" (um, wikipedia clearly states that to be fact, so it's hardly little known) to have run - He certainly has his detractors, it would seem.

Who is this guy?
By Ristogod on 6/21/2010 8:55:03 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously why does this guys opinion matter? He's a nobody. Stop feeding him media attention and making him into something he's not.

Excuse me...
By LoveHamster on 6/22/2010 8:36:13 AM , Rating: 1
Stool pigeons like this rarely see the light of day out in my neck of the woods. This is an embarassing low for DailyTech. Consulting a confirmed rat on security issues just leaves my mouth agape. I have to seriously question the credentials of the 'professionals' running the site. I'm pretty much speechless. This is disgusting.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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