Wikileak – Are Hackers The Heroes Or The Villians?

If you have paid any attention to the news for the past two weeks or if you are part of the computer/ hacker community for the past two months then there is a good chance that you have heard of this case.

The case is against a member of the military named Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked classified documents onto the internet.

are hackers heroes or villains?

are hackers heroes or villains?

Manning is considered to be part of the Hacker culture and is said to have been active in the scene for years.

His alleged leak was reportedly exposed by another hacker named Adrian Lamo and now the words “Hacker” and “security leak” are being thrown together on the nightly news.

It is making the public get an even more negative view about the hacker culture than they already had before.

Is this fair?

Since there are hackers on both sides of this case, is it fair that all hackers are being painted with the bad guy brush?

Let’s take a quick look at the case and see if the hacker culture should bear any responsibility in this case.

Who Were The Documents Leaked To?

The documents in question were leaked to a web site that is known as Wikileaks.

Wikileaks is an interesting web site.

They are known as the place to go to if you have any kind of classified documents that you think the public should know about.

Government leaks are not the only kind that they deal in – they also deal with leaks that come from corporations and other entities.

They have been on several organization’s target list for a long time and now they are on the radar of the US government.

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

The problem for Manning came because he told another hacker, Adrian Lamo, who then reported the information to US Army authorities.

This caused Manning to be detained where he is at to this day.

Overall, Lamo is being looked at as a snitch by some sections of the hacker community but there are still some people who support him.

There are a lot more who are twisted by the turn of events and can see the argument for both sides.

While the Wikileaks web site holds a special place in the heart of the hacker community, not all hackers are against what Lamo did so there has been a mini civil war in the hacker community but the press is not showing this – they make it seem as if every hacker wanted Manning to get away with it.

So in this case, hackers are not the heroes or the villains; they are on both sides of the drama and no-one has the definitive statement on what should have been done.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. While I agree that there were Hackers operating on both sides here, i would just like to say – The US ‘justice’ system sucks.
    Just look at their relentless pursuit of Gary McKinnon who has waited for 8 years now- and is still under threat of Extradition to America.
    its sickening that this guy, an Autistic script-kiddy. should be classed by America as a Terrorist……for looking at a .jpeg file on a dial-up modem. for more.
    his mother is lovely and tweets @janissharp.
    The tag #freegary will help you to find out more.

    • I know what you mean about the Gary McKinnon case as I’m quite familiar with it myself. I’m sure others would be interested though so thanks for sharing the link.

  2. Since i havent even looked at the documents i cant say if it was right or wrong to ‘leak’ them.
    If what he did was wrong, he will have to pay the price for what he did, the military doesnt play nice an he may be detained for a long time before anything is done – his military career is over with no doubt.


  1. […] has prompted a range of debate, much of it sympathetic to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.After the hack had taken place the group posted a humourous update on their Twitter account which […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Don't Extradite Gary, Cliff O'Sullivan. Cliff O'Sullivan said: Wikileak – Are Hackers The Heroes Or The Villians? #freegary #freegarynow […]

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