Print 22 comment(s) - last by Misty Dingos.. on Jul 12 at 7:35 AM

The alleged hacker reportedly caused more than $700,000 damage to US computers

Gary McKinnon, a British hacker accused of breaking into secured government computers, will be extradited to the United States.  He will face charges in the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.  The decision was made several months later than expected because officials in the UK needed to be reassured that McKinnon will be offered a fair trial.  In fact, the US government has assured the UK that McKinnon will not be forced to serve his sentence at Guantanamo Bay, would not have to face a military tribunal and will sometime be eligible for parole. 

Critics of the decision are claiming that McKinnon is being made a scapegoat due to the US government's lack of security on its own networks.  Ever since being arrested in late 2002, he has never denied illegally gaining access to US military institution computers.  An appeal of the District Judge and Secretary of State's decision is expected in the next several days. 

British Home Secretary John Reid will have until Tuesday, July 18, to overturn the decision.  If convicted, McKinnon faces a 70-year jail sentence and fines up to $1.75 million.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Just the facts please!
By Misty Dingos on 7/11/2006 12:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
In my best Joe Friday immitation.

OK now that we have at least some facts and not the fantasy that the press is using. We find that (according to the indictment) he did do damage to the computer systems. And that he planned to do more damage. While I am not suggesting that we storm the jail and lynch this guy. I am beginning to wonder just what he thought he could gain from these crimes. Perhaps the US government has been too hasty in agreeing not to send him to Club Gitmo if (note here that I said if) he is convicted. And to the matter of his sentence will likely be in the 10 year category, not 70. The judge and jury would have to think that this guy was Mr. Danger Incorporated to run the sentences consecutively and not concurrently. I also have to believe to get a 70 year sentence in US Federal courts he would have to have the worst defense attorney in the good ole US of A. And what does America produce more than anyone else? Lawyers. Follow the case if you want but the guy is going to get convicted and do 10 to 15 with some time off for good behavior (Brits are all so polite) in a medium security federal prison. Which is likely what he deserves.

RE: Just the facts please!
By DigitalFreak on 7/11/2006 1:24:33 PM , Rating: 4
70 years is wrong.

He should be EXECUTED! Prisons are too overcrowded anyway, and he'll be living off the taxpayer's dime the whole time he's in there.

RE: Just the facts please!
By Xponential on 7/11/2006 1:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, now that's funny :D

RE: Just the facts please!
By lemonadesoda on 7/11/2006 7:18:10 PM , Rating: 1
Facts?! You mean you are a government propaganda puppy. And you believe that the accusations made by the plaintiff are, de facto, true?

Lets look more closely at the story:

1./ "Gary McKinnon accessed and damaged without authorization"

What does that mean? "Without authorization" means he attempted to hack the system. "Accessed" means he was successful. And "damaged" can mean NOTHING MORE than some data was changed. But this changed data could be nothing more than a time stamp, a log, or some other insignificant detail, including adding his own account credentials

2./ 92 computers belonging to the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defense and NASA, and 6 computers belonging to a number of private businesses

Only 92 military computers? Is that all? Thats a local workgroup and certainly not evidence of being able to hack into the militay network in general.

6 computers belonging to private businesses? Exactly WHAT THE FUCK were these computers doing on the same network? Either the military had allowed "authorised" access to its network to these 6 computers... and hence there cannot have been any military "secrets" on this network... If there were such "secrets" then the military must be criminally negligent in allowing these 6 access.

3./ The indictment alleges that Gary McKinnon scanned a large number of computers in the .mil network, was able to access the computers and obtained administrative privileges
So he is accused of running a common port-scan which revealed a whole bunch of unprotected machines. The fact that through just a scan he was able to obtain administrative privileges proves that the military system administrator was indeed criminally negligent.

4./ McKinnon installed a remote administration tool, a number of hacker tools, copied password files and other files, deleted a number of user accounts and deleted critical system files

This is a very unclear accusation. Did he copy his own password files ONTO the network, or copy their password files OFF the network. Deleting a number of user accounts may be nothing more than deleting the accounts he created himself. There may have been no harm to actual physical user accounts.

5./ Ultimately, McKinnon caused a network in the Washington D.C. area to shutdown, resulting in the total loss of Internet access and e-mail service to approximately 2000 users for three days

Let me get this. He hacked into 92 + 6 computers. And out of fear, (and it took them a year to notice), THEY shut down their own internet and email access for 2000 users.

Shutting down POP and SMTP servers was completely unnecessary. Shutting down internet access could have been avoided using a proper router/gateway/proxy server switch over. It demonstrates the military network administration is criminally incompetent.

6./ The estimated loss to the various military organizations, NASA and the private businesses is approximately $900,000

Which noobie MBA graduate came up with that one? Oh, lets see. 2000 users for 3 days = 6000 man days of lost internet/email. Lets cost that at $150 per person and that makes, ooh, $900,000.

7./ 17 month investigation

It took them HOW LONG to look through their router logs to find the culprit? It seems to me that, at the end of the day, they chose an easy target.

I wonder how many people were involved in that 17 month investigation. And if they didnt get someone... how long thier budget (and thier jobs) would last?

8./ U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU), NASA Office of the Inspector General, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, 902nd Military Intelligence Group-Information Warfare Branch, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the United Kindom’s National High Tech Crime Unit. Also assisting in the investigation were the U.S. Army Computer Emergency Response Team located at Fort Belvoir, Va., the Army Regional Computer Emergency Response Team at Fort Huachuca, the Naval Computer Incident Response Team, and the Department of Defense Computer Emergency Response Team.

How many departments was that trying to take the credit? Was it 11? Probably more. But these 11 need to make a "catch" to earn a few brownie points with thier bosses / budget sponsors.

If British Home Secretary John Reid extradites the guy then it's clear the UK is nothing more than a sycophant to the US.

This whole affair stinks.

RE: Just the facts please!
By Misty Dingos on 7/11/2006 8:10:05 PM , Rating: 3
Thank god someone other than myself actually took the time to read the charges against this twit! Bless you my child. Now if we can clean up your potty mouth a tad and get the wiring in your kooky little brain to work right. You might just realize that if this under achieving thumb sucker did do what they are accusing him. Then unlike what might happen if he hacked into Pepsi or GM, people might die. I doubt that it would be anyone you care about though since you are more interested in the conspiracy of the day or the EVIL MILITARY INDUSTIRAL COMPLEX. Friendship and the honesty of right and wrong no doubt escapes you. Yes you are right it does stink.

RE: Just the facts please!
By jonnybradley on 7/12/2006 5:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
The News here in the UK make a good point, the US has actually presented no evidence to support the extradition. If this is the case how can the uk gov just hand him over with out any proof? A lot has been made here in the press about the uk willingness to extradite to the US and US reluctance to extradition to UK.

Also how can deleting a few files from a unsecured workstation's cause $1.75m worth of damage. These files would surly just be recovered from backups. Yeah I know lose of service to the network and all that but $1.75m!!!

This case smells of ball$4!t to me. I would think that he will try and challenge the extradition in the European courts.

just my 2 pence

RE: Just the facts please!
By Misty Dingos on 7/12/2006 7:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
Hate to say this but that is what the treaty (signed in the UK and not yet signed in the USA)set up. It was designed to allow the speedy extradition of terrorism suspects. If this is what our two countrys have agreed to fine. But I don't think that the UK should be held to the agreement until the USA signs and binds us to the agreement also. I don't know where the $1.75 figure comes from. The indictment puts the total figure at $900,000. You didn't get that figure from the Sun did you?

Kill someone by DUI
By psychobriggsy on 7/11/2006 10:52:35 AM , Rating: 2
and you'll get a slap on the wrist, maybe a little prison time if the judge is feeling particularly harsh.

Kill no-body, and cause $700,000 'damage' to unsecured accessible computer systems? 70 years in jail and a $1.75m fine. Hell, murdering somebody won't get you anywhere near 70 years. Where's the sense of proportion? Sure, accessing US military computers isn't the brightest thing anybody's ever done admittedly ...

If anybody was ever in doubt that the US values money over lives, this should help them come to a conclusion.

RE: Kill someone by DUI
By Kilim on 7/11/2006 11:05:19 AM , Rating: 2
He can get 70 years, but he is not actually going to get that sentence. That is the total amounty of jail time he could be sentenced for his specific numerous crimes. Maybe in Bizzaro land he could get that time, but not in a regular US court.

RE: Kill someone by DUI
By threepac3 on 7/11/2006 11:08:44 AM , Rating: 2
You have to understand that just because the sentence to 70 years in prison doesn’t mean he will be in prison for 70 years. This is where parole comes in. After a curtain period he will get a parole hearing, where he can plead his case. If the parole board believes he is reformed they will release him. The parole can be given to him only after 2~4 years if he’s lucky.

RE: Kill someone by DUI
By rushfan2006 on 7/11/2006 12:29:38 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with your agrument. I've always disapproved of the wacko "scale of justice" on certain crimes. I just don't get it. You are correct, if you actually look up history of sentences (in a law library is your best source if not online) in US history...notice the harshest penalties for crimes involving fraud, embezzlement or other financial crimes are often more severe (but not in *all* cases mind you) than crimes that involve rape, murder, assault, kidnapping, etc. So I think it is a fair assumption that our justice system here in the US overall is saying "money is valued in the eyes of justice more than human life is".

Finally what other folks commented about the 70 years is true...the only time the max time applies is of course when they say "and no chance of parole".

If you have parole opportunity that means if you are a good little boy in jail you can shave literal decades off your sentence if its a huge one like 70 years.

Which btw, sorry if I'm harse..but I disagree with parole in most cases.

Criminals are criminals -- assuming the mountain of evidence was substantial and they had right to fair trial and all that good stuff.

We are too kind to criminals in this country.

RE: Kill someone by DUI
By jedisponge on 7/11/2006 7:17:07 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, but this is a typical ignorant reaction (among others), with the only knowledge about how the law actually works seemingly coming only from t.v. shows and movies. If you were more "aware" about how it works, you'll notice that 70 years is the maximum, and in all probability not likely. Also, more importantly that a few of you guys are overlooking, you'll notice that most rapes, murders etc have sentences that normally do not have parole .

Good lord
By Randum on 7/11/2006 11:04:34 AM , Rating: 2
that is brutal

RE: Good lord
By brystmar on 7/11/2006 11:49:02 AM , Rating: 2
Moral of the story: don't hack the government

RE: Good lord
By epsilonparadox on 7/11/2006 12:20:01 PM , Rating: 1
But kill as many people as you want, plead insanity and go to a cushy institution. Lovely.

RE: Good lord
By Samus on 7/11/2006 9:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
exactly how did they come up with the 700,000 dollar figure in damages?

By Kilim on 7/11/2006 11:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
Okay, these "critics" are doing more harm than good. The US government may not have had super duper security, but how is that an excuse for him doing what he did? At my work we have a lock for the front glass door, it's very thick glass, but it is still glass. Our we at fault since all they had to do was throw a brick through it? Should that burglar get LESS time since it was so easy to break into my work?

... wrong comparison
By ariususa on 7/11/2006 11:11:43 AM , Rating: 3
It's more like:
Should you go to jail for 70 years if you throw a brick through a windows? Did you actually know if he stole something?
Do you think it would be human to send somebody in jail for 70 years for braking your office window even if he did not steal a single paper from your office?
I can understand you would be upset. But this is exagerated.
At least, now they now one breach to their military network, which hopefully won't be used by people who actually have the intention of doing harm...

By ksherman on 7/11/2006 10:26:43 AM , Rating: 4
thats some pretty hefty jail time and fine... Have other hackers be given this harsh of a sentence?

By SpaceRanger on 7/11/2006 10:41:43 AM , Rating: 1
British Home Secretary John Reid will have until Tuesday, June 18, to overturn the decision. If convicted, McKinnon faces a 70-year jail sentence and fines up to $1.75 million.

Ok.. Is it just me or is this an OLD article, or that date is meant for June of 2007??

RE: Ooops???
By MrPickins on 7/11/2006 10:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'd guess that they meant July 18th, as that will be on a tuesday.

Odds are...
By RMTimeKill on 7/11/2006 11:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
This is just a big show. The guy will probaly disappear from prison in 6 months and end up working for the government to help patch up the holes he came through and make a lot of money doing it...

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki