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Gary McKinnon will likely be sent to the United States to stand trial for various computer crimes

A British hacker accused of breaking into secured government computers and causing more than $700,000 in computer damages lost an extradition appeal in the U.K.  Last May, McKinnon was indicted in northern Virginia and New Jersey, at the same time a British judge decided that the hacker should be extradited to face charges.  This time, two leading British judges rejected the challenge -- McKinnon now wants his case to be heard in the House of Lords, England's highest appeals court.   

McKinnon compromised around 100 computer systems, some of which were operated by the Pentagon and NASA.  The alleged intrusions took place from February 2001 to March 2002, leading to McKinnon's arrest in 2002.  He was caught because some of the software he used in the attacks was later traced back to an e-mail address his girlfriend used.

McKinnon admitted that he made the intrusions, along with saying the damage was unintentional and he was looking for evidence of UFOs. The U.S. government has spent a considerable amount of time reassuring U.K. prosecutors that McKinnon would be given a fair trial once in U.S. jurisdiction.  

If convicted, the man who carried out "the biggest military hack of all time" could face up to 70 years in prison along with fines up to $1.7 million.

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By Spartan Niner on 4/5/2007 2:15:26 AM , Rating: 3

1. someone who plays golf poorly
2. a programmer who breaks into computer systems in order to steal or change or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism
3. a programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm; "true hackers subscribe to a code of ethics and look down upon crackers"
4. one who works hard at boring tasks [syn: hack]

Now I don't know what ignorant definition of hacking you've been taught by the media, but #3 is probably closest to the original meaning of "hacker", not the bastardized meaning portrayed by the news media of including anything from script-kiddies to cyber-thugs and malware-writers. I don't consider script-kiddies to be hackers, and I certainly wouldn't group cyber-thugs and malware-writers with them. "Hackers" have been around since Steve Russell et al. wrote code and tweaked oscilloscopes to make Spacewar

By bldckstark on 4/5/2007 12:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
The word "Cracker" was derived from combining two words. Those being "Criminal" and "Hacker". That should tell you the difference between the use of the words. Cracker is also a slang word used dergatorially to describe caucasians. This is why you rarely see it used in the media. Using the term cracker to describe criminal hacking would cause some uptight white Democrat to call Greenpeace on the newspaper, thinking they used a derogatory term. Aren't we all better off with this politically correct world!!

By Motley on 4/5/2007 1:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
No, cracker didn't derive from combining two words. Cracker came from being able to break into something. As in "To crack a safe", or "crack a walnut".

By rcc on 4/5/2007 6:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
The evolution/spread of the term is pretty humorous considering it was originally coined as a derogatory name by programmers to describe someone that "hacked" code from other peoples programs rather than write their own.

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