Gary McKinnon, the "Alien Perl hacker" extradition case on hold.
Published on 01/21/09 at 21:10:14 by WebAPP
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SecurityGary McKinnon, also known as Solo or the Alien Perl hacker, is a British hacker facing an extradition to the United States for charges of perpetrating what has been described by the Military of the United States as the "biggest military computer hack of all time." McKinnon whom is diagnosed with the Asperger's syndrome claims that he was motivated by his search for proof that aliens exist.



In 2001, McKinnon wrote a simple brute-force Perl script which he combined with a javascript and words lists over a 56Kbps modem to test passwords against various systems in the US during the years 2001 and 2002. McKinnon is accused of hacking into 97 United States military and NASA computers. The computer networks he is accused of hacking include networks owned by NASA, the US Army, US Navy, Department of Defense, and the US Air Force. He is also accused for shutting down the entire US Army's Military District of Washington network—more than 2,000 computers in all—for 24 hours. While the US estimates claim the costs of tracking and correcting the problems he allegedly caused were around $700,000, McKinnon denies causing any damage and disputes the financial loss claimed by the US. However McKinnon admits leaving a note on one computer:

"US foreign policy is akin to government-sponsored terrorism these days... It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand-down on September 11 last year... I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels."

The UK court has ruled on July 2006 that McKinnon should would ne extradited to the US. His appeal to the High Court in London in February 2007 was turned down on April 3. McKinnon appealed further to the House of Lords which has also turned down his appeal on July 30, 2008 with the Law Lords judging that Gary McKinnon could be extradited to the United States. Yesterday, McKinnon appeared at the High Court in London for an oral hearing about his extradition case. Upon the start of the hearing, McKinnon's lawyers has told ZDNet UK that the home secretary's counsel agreed to keep the case on until the director of public prosecutions (DPP) had issued his decision. McKinnon's lawyers hope that McKinnon would be tried in the UK under the Computer Misuse Act, rather than in the US. Should the extradition take place, he would be facing the possibility of 70 years in prison and nearly $2 million in fines.

McKinnon has commented on the news as:
"It's brilliant news — they're delaying the whole thing until we've got the DPP's decision,"
and: "It's such a relief."


McKinnon's fans has started a "Free Gary" movement and a website in support of Gary McKinnon and ask for his release.

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