Historys Most Successful Hacker To Be Extradited
The United States has begun extradition proceedings for an alleged British hacker, accused of hacking into almost 100 US military and NASA computer networks.
The 36-year-old Londoner, Gary McKinnon, and his attorney will be opposing the US extradition application, on the grounds that prosecution belongs to Britain, and handing him over to US authorities would be purely “political.”
McKinnon is accused of perpetrating the biggest US military computer hack in history, and could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the eight counts charged against him.
Indidted in Virginia and New Jersey on computer crimes in 14 different states, McKinnon is accused of stealing passwords, deleting files, monitoring traffic, and shutting down computer networks on military bases all over the United States in a one-year time frame. The estimated damage is around $1 million.
The Pentagon suffered two computer break-ins and a McKinnon allegedly crashed a 300-computer network at Earle Naval Weapons Stations in Colts Neck New Jersey.
Arrested Tuesday night by British authorities, the alleged hacker, known on the Internet as “SOLO,” also hacked into NASA’s system. Although authorities say no classified files were viewed or affected, the hacker did compromise “sensitive” information.
“This is an incredibly sophisticated cyber criminal,” said Newark US Attorney Christopher Christie. “He was a very busy guy.”
Believed to have acted alone, McKinnon is thought to have accessed the networks through public websites, then installed a remote administrator program to control computers that were open for attack. Files were copied and/or deleted from critical systems.