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Mossad website ‘hacker’ walks free

And gets pat on head for 'acting in the public good'

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An Israeli man was cleared yesterday of trying to hack into a website run by Israel's secret service, Mossad.

Jerusalem Magistrate's Court acquitted Avi Mizrahi of computer crime offences after judges ruled his motives for checking the security of a Mossad recruitment site were innocent. Presiding judge Abraham Tennenbaum even praised Mizrahi for "acting in the public good" in trying to access the security level of the site, Ha'aretz reports.

He ruled: "Internet surfers who check the vulnerabilities of Web sites are acting in the public good. If their intentions are not malicious and they do not cause any damage, they should even be praised."

Details of the case remain sketchy but it seems that Mizrah usedan automatic scanning tool against a Mossad recruitment site, prompting an investigation which led to his arrest in June 2003.

In court, prosecutors characterised Mizrahi as a skilled hacker caught "casing the joint" in preparation for an attack on the website.

But the court rejected this argument and dismissed charges against Mizrahi.

Ha'aretz doesn't quote Mizrahi's age this time around but its earlier reports place him at between 23 and 24 years old. ®

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