Thursday, 31 Jul, 2008 Offbeat
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Hacker Broke Into Pentagon System Searching for Aliens

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The court refused a British hacker in his appeal against being extradited to the United States where he is accused of breaking into the computer systems of Pentagon, US army, navy and NASA. Gary McKinnon could face up to 70 years in jail. After he was arrested in 2002 it was revealed that the damage he caused equals $700,000.

Mr McKinnon claimed that he was just curious about the existence of aliens. In 2006 he said that he was just a computer nerd, who became obsessed with the process of searching through military networks for proof of extra-terrestrial existence.

The highest court of Great Britain, the House of Lords, ruled that the man should face a maximum charge under English law - life sentence. It refused the man's appeal against extradition.

The lawyers of Mr McKinnon outlined that it would be a violation of his human rights in case the man is sent to the United States. They added that Mr McKinnon's extradition was in fact sought "for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his nationality or political opinions".

In May 2006 a district court ruled that Mr McKinnon should be extradited. In April 2007 the decision was supported at London's High Court. The same year three top judges of Britain allowed Mr McKinnon to take his case to the House of Lords. In case the man is found guilty in the United States, he could face up to 70 years in jail and a penalty fine of up to $1.75 million.

It is worth mentioning that in the period between February 2001 and March 2002 Mr McKinnon used his home computer in London to illegally penetrate into 97 systems of the US Government. He is now accused of shutting down for 24 hours the whole US Army's Military District of Washington network, which consists of more than 2,000 computers.

Under the nickname "Solo", McKinnon, who used a limited 56K dial-up modem, discovered that lots of US security systems were running on insecure Microsoft Windows program, having no password protection. Afterwards he scanned military networks using the software he purchased off-the-shelf. The man said that he found evidence from senior figures reporting about the existence of technology received from aliens.

Paul McNulty, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: "Mr McKinnon is charged with the biggest military computer hack of all time".

Source: News.com.au from correspondets in London

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