Britain arrests alleged Pentagon hacker

By Derek Sooman on June 8, 2005, 8:07 PM
In perhaps one of the biggest computer cracking stories of all time, UK citizen Gary McKinnon, 39, of Wood Green, north London has been released on bail by magistrates (but possibly faces extradition to the US) on charges of cracking into 53 US military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002. The computer networks McKinnon is accused of illegally accessing include NASA, the US Army, US Navy, Department of Defence, the US Air Force and the holiest of holies... the Pentagon!

In a tale reminiscent of War Games or even the X-Files, McKinnon is accused of many computer crimes, including cracking into an army computer at Fort Myer, Virginia and then deleting around 1,300 user accounts. His motivation? To prove the existence of UFOs and to expose security failures.

The US estimates the costs of tracking and correcting the problems he allegedly caused were around $1m (£570,000).
If found guilty, McKinnon estimates he could face a maximum 70-year jail sentence if convicted in the US. His lawyer claims that he will fight his extradition on the grounds that he believes that he will not receive fair treatment from the judicial system there.

Now that we live in a post 9/11 world, it will be interesting (and perhaps horrifying) to see how cracking crimes of this magnitude are dealt with. In general, this kind of crime has been met with a poor level of justice, so things donít look good for McKinnon at this stage.




User Comments: 7

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Phantasm66 said:
You all just HAVE to read this : [url]http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/cyberlaw/usmck1102va
nd.pdf[/url]
howard_hopkinso said:
Hey Phant. Very interesting document.Apart from being a computer hacker, the guy must be some sort of ***** as well.Looks like he`ll be eating porridge for a while.I see that he`s trying to fight extradition to the USA, on the grounds that he wouldn`t get a fair trial. I don`t think that`ll wash somehow.He`s done the crime,(allegedly)and deserves to do the time as far as I`m concerned.Regards Howard
kraugie said:
Wow, what a stupid thing to do. He'll probably get it for this one.
Mikael said:
Howard: Would you really be surprised if he didn't receive a fair trial here in the United States? I am not going to say that I don't want to see him punished, but I am not too convinced that the U.S. government wouldn't ream him almost immediately.
Phantasm66 said:
He had to know he was going to get caught doing that. Man, anything else but that stuff (i.e. Pentagon.)I was just saying to a good friend recently that after 9/11, the next person who pulls a Mitnick will wind up getting totally hung, drawn and quartered. Oh, dear.Read that PDF file as well - he used RemotelyAnywhere and stuff its very amusing. I think I read he was from Glasgow as well, LOL![Edited by Phantasm66 on 2005-06-09 10:32:40]
Electrick Gypsy said:
That was an interesting read Phantasm66.I have to agree that he stands no chance what-so-ever of a fair trial in the U.S. though.
howard_hopkinso said:
[b]Originally posted by Mikael:[/b][quote]Howard: Would you really be surprised if he didn't receive a fair trial here in the United States? I am not going to say that I don't want to see him punished, but I am not too convinced that the U.S. government wouldn't ream him almost immediately.[/quote]I do take your point Mikael, but if as seems the case. The evidence is incontrovertible. Then the verdict will be the same wherever he is tried. I think the only difference will be the length of sentence he receives. The USA probably imposing a much greater sentence than the (soft)Uk would`ve done.In the post 911 world, this sort of thing has to be stamped out. If the penalties for hacking into government computers is harsh enough, then maybe it will deter any other hacker from trying to do the same.Regards Howard
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