The survey asked attendees from a Black Hat conference to indicate if they felt Edward Snowden, Anonymous or the NSA were heroes of villains.
A new survey by Veracode, a provider of cloud-based application security testing, has found mixed opinions over security activists.
When given the choice between hero and villain, it found that 56% of the voters believed Edward Snowden is a hero, while 44% believed he is a villain.
Asked their opinion on activist group Anonymous, about 46% rated it as hero and 54% said villains.
And respondents were evenly split on whether they felt National Security Agency (NSA) was a villain or hero.
The research also found mixed feelings on coffee chain Starbucks, with 46% selecting it as a hero and 54% as a villain.
The results also showed that Ironman and Batman are the most popular superheroes in the security community.
The Black Hat USA conference is attended by sophisticated hackers, security experts and leaders from all areas of the infosec community including corporate, government, academic, and researchers.