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A US man has been charged with hacking into government computers, including Department of Defense machines.

Rob Lyttle, 20, was indicted with hacking government computers and defacing government websites in April 2002. The US government estimates the cost of repairing the damage at $70,000.

It is alleged that Lyttle got access to non-public Defense Department computers including the worldwide logistics system, Defense Logistics Information Service, in Battle Creek, Michigan.

The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine. Lyttle is back before Judge Maria-Elena James today for arraignment - he will hear the charges against him and enter a plea. The case is being overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit of the US Attorney's office, and follows an FBI investigation.

Benjamin Stark, Lyttle's alleged hacking partner, was charged in May and pleaded guilty to 11 offences. He will be sentenced in September and faces 24 to 30 months in custody. They dubbed themselves "the Deceptive Duo".

The US Attorney's statement is here. ®

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