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  • Released May 20th, 2010
    Size 699.1 MB
    Download hackers_wanted.mp4

    Hackers Wanted (also known as Can You Hack It?) is a documentary directed and written by Sam Bozzo, Trigger Street Productions and narrated by Kevin Spacey. The documentary explores different subgroups of the hacker culture and how they affect our computerized world. Hackers Wanted includes a wide range of interviews with people from hacker, information security, law enforcement, higher education and journalist communities. It also includes a large segment covering the life, breakins, the arrest and sentencing of Adrian Lamo. A rough cut of the documentary was released on BitTorrent sites on May 20th, 2010. A director's cut was leaked on June 12th, 2010.

    The documentary takes a very idealistic view of the White Hat hackers as the driving force behind innovation in a society. White Hat hackers are represented as a cure for society's tendency for conformity and eventual stagnation. From personal computers to the blue box, they are the people who push the envelope. While the documentary suggests the hacking culture as we know it today has its roots in MIT's Tech Model Railroad Club of the 1960s, the unique hacker mindset has existed for centuries actively innovating the world to create the computerized society we have today. As an example of White Hat hackers, Steve Wozniak and John Draper, aka Cap'n Crunch, are interviewed about their creations and adventures in the 1970s.

    Black Hat hackers are described as computer criminals and foreign government actors who use hacking to break the law and wage an information warfare. The documentary goes in depth on the dependence of civilized countries on computers for managing financial systems, utilities, and national security. At the same time, the documentary presents several scenarios both real and theoretical of how computer infrastructure can be attacked to cause destruction. China's Information Warfare program, India vs. Pakistan cyberwar, and various infrastructure attacks such as Australian sewage treatment plant hack are used as examples.

    Somewhere in between the idealistic White Hats and the criminal Black Hats is a separate group of Gray Hat hackers. Using the same methods as the Black Hats while having the same idealistic views as the White Hats, Gray Hat hackers are described as ethical vigilantes of the cyber west who take it upon themselves to find security holes and notify the owners before they are exploited by the Black Hats. The documentary identifies an identity conflict where as far as the law enforcement and information security professionals are concerned Gray Hat hackers are the same threat as the Black Hats. On the other hand, a lot of White Hat hackers recognize the difference of intent between the two groups, where contrary to Black Hat hackers, White Hats do not seek a monetary reward or destruction of an enemy. Instead actions of a Gray Hat hacker are driven by the desire to explore and to improve the digital world even when such actions may be in conflict with the law. Adrian Lamo is used as an example of a Gray Hat hacker who has penetrated several large companies in order to expose and publicize vulnerabilities before Black Hats had a chance to exploit them and cause damage. The documentary dedicates a large segment to describe details of Adrian Lamo's exploits as well as his view on the role hacking should play in the society. Robert Lyttle is described as another example of a Gray Hat hacker who as part of the “Deceptive Duo” hacking group has penetrated several high profile targets including DoD and NASA computers. Robert Lyttle describes his intentions as patriotic designed to expose vulnerabilities in government systems before they were exploited by foreign governments.

    The documentary offers a balanced view on different shades of the hacker community even though at times the story was overly influenced by a single individual – Adrian Lamo. The message of the documentary is positive and concentrates on the benefits hackers of various shades can offer to the society to both innovate and protect it. At the same time it recognizes a long history of mistrust and fear between mainstream society and the hacker culture which would make such relationship difficult to achieve.

    External Links

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