Computer Crime Research Center


UK hacker Gary McKinnon's extradition (briefly) delayed

Date: January 22, 2009

Gary McKinnon, the UK hacker who broke into US government computer systems looking for signs of alien life, may have earned a reprieve from his impending US extradition. For a few weeks, at least.

McKinnon's lawyers told ZDNet UK that the UK has agreed to hold the extradition until the UK Director of Public Prosecutions has made a final decision about whether McKinnon can be tried in the UK instead. Should that fail and McKinnon be sent to our fair shores, he faces the possibility of 70 years in prison and nearly $2 million in fines.

Back in 2001 and 2002, McKinnon used a brute-force Perl script over a 56Kbps (!) modem to test default passwords against various systems in the US Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, the Pentagon, and even the Department of Defense. He was eventually charged with shutting down the entire US Army's Military District of Washington network—more than 2,000 computers in all—for 24 hours. Which is, it goes without saying, a big no-no.
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