According to reports in Spain’s leading newspaper, El País, there is a real-life hacker calling herself “Salander” after Stieg Larsson’s fictional Lisbeth Salander made famous by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. The new Salander apparently operates from Melilla, the small Spanish enclave in Morocco. She has been gaining access to Spanish government files and publishing them online.
“Spanish daily newspaper El País reported on Sunday that for the past two years the shadowy internet personality has been hacking her way into state institutions, then publishing them on the web to highlight corruption and wrong-doing. The Facebook page where she published most of the documents has been closed down and the “Spanish Salander” remains unidentified.In an interview with El País, she claimed she started her online campaign because she was “sick of people being scared to have opinions or rebelling”. She claimed that the political classes of Melilla had “exploited the geographical barrier of the Mediterranean to create an alternative, parallel reality”. One of her most notable achievements is providing inside information concerning the abuse of patients in a state-funded mental institution. This information led to an employee being fired for hitting a patient.According to El País, “Salander the second” has now gained cult status in Melilla. The paper says she was a popular choice for chirigotas – folk songs composed especially for a town’s carnival and adapted to political or social issues.
Salander may also be a particularly interesting fictional character to people in Melilla since Larsson set a number of memorable scenes for Salander’s super-heroine talents in Gibraltar, the best known enclave in the region, located between Spain and Morocco.