Feeds

UK teen escapes jail in nuclear lab hack case

No fine, either

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

A UK teenager who admits breaking into the network of Fermilab, a US high-energy physics research lab, has escaped imprisonment.

Joseph McElroy, 18, from Woodford Green in East London, was today sentenced to 200 hours community service at a hearing at Southwark Crown Court this afternoon.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Goymer told McElroy: "You have only just escaped prison." People found guilty of similar offences in the future would not be so fortunate, he said.

Fermilab had pressed for £21,215 compensation from McElroy, but he escaped a fine, on the grounds that he had no means to pay.

McElroy pleaded guilty to hacking into 17 computers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in June 2002 at a hearing at Bow Street Magistrates' Court last October. His actions contravened the UK's Computer Misuse Act.

McElroy’s escapades were described by the prosecution as at the low-end of hacking crimes. The Crown accepted that the youth had no malicious intent. But McElroy's actions had serious consequences, even though his objective was only to use the lab's network to download films and music from the Net. The lab's computer systems had to be shut down for three days once the intrusion - which triggered a full-scale alert - was discovered. Fermi Lab is run by the US Department of Energy.

It was quickly established that classified systems were not accessed, but the authorities pressed ahead with a prosecution.

US investigators tracked the intrusion to the UK before passing the case over to Scotland Yard's Computer Crime Unit; it in turn tracked McElroy to his parent’s home in east London. ®

Related Stories

Sentencing date set in nuclear lab hack case
Sentencing postponed in nuclear lab hack case
London police quiz suspected US DoE cracker

External Links

The US DoE's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. The atom-smashing lab at the eye of the storm.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.