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NASA hacker jailed

Half of Deceptive Duo sent to the Big House

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A US man was jailed for four months last week after he was convicted of hacking into US government computers and defacing web sites. Robert Lyttle, 21, of Pleasant Hill, near San Francisco, was also ordered to pay damages of approximately $72,000 and to serve three year probation after his release from federal prison. The first four months of this probation period will be under home confinement with electronic monitoring, US District Judge D. Lowell Jensen ordered.

Lyttle (a member of hacking group The Deceptive Duo) hacked into computer systems of various federal agencies in April 2002, including the Department of Defense's Defense Logistic Information Service and Office of Health Affairs and NASA's Ames Research Center. He broke into systems to facilitate subsequent defacement of NASA and various other US government websites. Lyttle, who pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawfully accessing computer systems in connection with these offences after a July 2004 indictment (PDF) by a federal grand jury, is due to begin serving his sentence on 24 August, Reuters reports.

Benjamin Stark, Lyttle's alleged hacking partner, was charged in May 2004 and subsequently pleaded guilty to hacking and credit card fraud offences. He is yet to be sentenced. Lyttle and Stark specialised in cracking vulnerable US government websites and posting "patriotic" messages in which they described themselves as anonymous US citizens determined to expose security holes in government systems. ®

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