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Teen hacker is not guilty

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Aaron Caffrey, the teenager hacker accused of crippling the Port of Houston's web-based systems, was found not guilty today.

The jury took just three hours to reach their verdict. Prosecution and defence agreed that a DDOS attack had begun from Caffrey's home PC. But Caffrey claimed the evidence against him was planted on his machine by attackers who used an unspecified Trojan to gain control of his PC and launch the assault.

Neil Barrett, an expert witness for the prosecution, said that Caffrey's machine showed no trace of the tell-tale signs that would be left by such an attack but today's verdict, shows that this did not persuade the jury.

Caffrey, of Shaftesbury, Dorset was accused of conducting a DDOS attack against the Port of Houston, crippling its Web-based systems for hours in the early hours of September 21 2001. This was the result of a misdirected attack by Caffrey against a fellow chat-room user, the prosecution claimed.

Caffrey's case is the first ever in the UK decided by a jury under the Computer Misuse Act. But the Trojan defence has succeed before in a British court. In April this year, Karl Schofield, 39, was cleared of possession of child porn when prosecutors accepted expert testimony that the unnamed Trojan could have been responsible for the presence of 14 child porn images on his PC. ®

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