UK hacker fights US extradition

A UK man described as the ‘world’s biggest hacker’ appeared in court today to fight an attempt to extradite him to the US to face charges of hacking military computers.

Gary McKinnon, 39, allegedly broke into 97 US government computers causing $700,000 worth of damage. Among the charges, he is accused of deleting system files and logs at a US Navy base, leaving its 300 plus computers inoperable.

Lawyer for the US Government, Mark Summers, said the hacking was ‘intentional and calculated to influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion’.

McKinnon left a note on one computer, criticising US foreign policy as ‘akin to government sponsored terrorism’ and pledging to continue his campaign of disruption. Following his arrest he admitted that his ultimate goal was to access the military’s classified information network. He later told The Guardian that he hacked the computers to prove that the US had evidence of UFOs.

Having gained access to the computers, he installed remote access and admin software that allowed him to subsequently control the machines undetected.

‘He effectively owned those computers,’ said Summers.

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