Feeds

'Pentagon hacker' prepares for verdict

Full disclosure

Security for virtualized datacentres

Infosec Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who's due to hear whether he will be extradited to the US on 10 May, rates his chances of avoiding trial in the States as only "50/50".

McKinnon, 40, faces possible trial under US anti-terror laws over alleged attacks on military and NASA systems between 2001 and 2002.

The unemployed sys admin has had these charges over his head since first been arrested by officers from the UK's National High Tech Crime Unit in March 2002. The case against him lay dormant until July 2005 since when he's been unable to find work. Bail conditions mean he's unable to access the internet except in the course of employment and even then under tight conditions. He is, however, allowed to have a mobile phone.

Lawyers for McKinnon want him to be tried over his offences in the UK rather than the US. "I'm very worried. Whatever happens I'll have a fight on my hands for the next 18 months or so," he said. "If I'm sent to the US, I'd face trial in front of a secret military tribunal."

McKinnon admits he looked at computer systems without permission but claims he did no harm. He got involved in hacking after reading Disclosure by Stephen Greer and becoming convinced that the US had harvested advanced technology from UFOs and was keeping it secret to the detriment of the public. His hacking activities were a means to an end, uncovering evidence that the US had developed anti-gravity and zero point energy devices.

He was caught after US military agencies detected system intrusions which were traced back to the UK. UK authorities identified McKinnon as the attacker after obtaining records of British sales of a tool called RemotelyAnywhere to McKinnon and subsequent police work that made him a prime suspect in the case.

"The US authorities are using a hammer to squash a nut. I didn't do any damage. The Love Bug (an infamous computer virus) caused far more harm," he said.

McKinnon added that, as in the case of Mathew Bevan, the US authorities were "over reacting". Bevan (AKA Kuji) was accused of breaking into US military computer systems but escaped without punishment when a 1997 case at Woolwich Crown Court was dropped after a long-running legal battle. After the case Bevan became an ethical hacker and security consultant with Tiger Computer Security, and later on a freelance basis with his firm the Kuji Media Corporation.

McKinnon says he's not been approached by companies offering work. Many well-wishers have sent McKinnon messages of support, some of whom express an interest in hacking. McKinnon is keen to discourage others from following his path.

"Organised criminals are far more effective than script kiddies or those that hack for an intellectual challenge because they know the sentence they face," he said. McKinnon made his comments during an interview at the Infosec trade show in London on Thursday. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
NATO declares WAR on Google Glass, mounts attack alongside MPAA
Yes, the National Association of Theater Owners is quite upset
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.