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The British hacker who crippled the US fleet


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#1    Blackleaf

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 09:51 AM

Daily Mail

British hacker 'who crippled the US battle fleet from his bedroom'
By MATTHEW BAYLEY, Daily Mail

10:27am 28th July 2005

A British computer engineer crippled vital US defence systems in the wake of the September 11 attacks by carrying out the "biggest military hack of all time", a court heard yesterday.

From his bedroom in North London, Gary McKinnon - using the name Solo - brought American government networks to their knees by infiltrating systems at the Pentagon, the army, navy and the space agency Nasa, it was alleged.

He hacked into 26 U.S. Navy computers, including those at Pearl Harbour and the Earle naval weapons station in New Jersey - responsible for restocking the Atlantic Fleet of more than 1,200 ships, aircraft and nuclear submarines with ordnance and ammunition.

Two weeks after the September 11 terrorist outrages, he put out of action Earle's entire network of more than 300 computers, which are used to monitor the battle-readiness of warships, Mark Summers, a lawyer representing the U.S. government, told an extradition hearing in London.

"They were inoperable at a critical time immediately following 11 September 2001 and thereafter left the network vulnerable to other intruders," he added. During a later hack, McKinnon left an electronic note comparing U.S. foreign policy to "government-sponsored terrorism".

He wrote: "It was not a mistake that there was a huge security standdown on September 11 last year. I am Solo. I will continue to disrupt at the highest level."

The Americans, who want him to face trial in the U.S., say he set out to "disrupt and intimidate" the authorities and caused more than 400,000 worth of damage.

Bow Street magistrates court in central London heard how McKinnon - who claims he was looking for secret evidence of UFOs - accessed 97 U.S. government computers between February 2001 and March 2002. "His conduct was intentional and calculated to influence and affect the U.S. government by intimidation and coercion," said Mr Summers.

McKinnon got into the American networks via the Internet by identifying U.S. government network computers with an open Microsoft Windows connection, he added.

He stole passwords to the systems before installing remote access software to allow him to get back into the computers any time while hiding what he was doing.

It meant he was able to scan more than 73,000 American government computers for other networks to hack into. He "levered" himself from network to network and into 97 computers throughout the U.S., the court was told.

These included 53 U.S. Army computers, among them those based at the Pentagon and those used for national defence and security at the Fort Myer and Fort McNair military bases in Virginia and Washington DC.

'Deleted files'

McKinnon deleted system files on nine computers at the two bases in February 2002 "significantly disrupting governmental function," the court heard.

Mr Summers said: "Deletion of these files shut down the entire U.S. Army's Military District of Washington network of over 2,000 computers for 24 hours."

Another computer network at Fort Myer was left inoperable after he deleted 2,455 user accounts, he added. McKinnon is also said to have breached 16 Nasa computers between September 5, 2001 and October 13, 2002, as well as one Department of Defence computer and one U.S. Air Force computer.

The engineer - who faces 20 hacking charges and could be jailed for 70 years - also copied files, account names and passwords on to his own computer, the court heard.

It is alleged he obtained passwords or information which might become "indirectly useful to an enemy".

In 2002 he was tracked down to the home he shared with his then girlfriend in Wood Green, North London, and his computers were seized. He was questioned and then arrested in June this year.

McKinnon is said to have admitted he had targeted high-level U.S. army, navy and air force computers, but has claimed in an interview that he was looking for evidence of UFOs in classified files.

However, his claim is contested by the U.S. Justice Department. "His ultimate goal was to gain access to the U.S. military classified information network," said Mr Summers.

McKinnon is contesting the extradition request, claiming the U.S. should first sign an extradition treaty.

The Bow Street hearing was adjourned until October 18 and District Judge Nicholas Evans allowed McKinnon bail. But he must report to his local police station twice a week and must not apply for any international travel documents or use any computer equipment allowing him to access the Internet.

McKinnon was initially indicted in 2002 by a U.S. federal grand jury on eight counts of computerrelated crime in 14 different states. The case is being taken extremely seriously by the American military, which has been a prime target of computer hackers for more than a decade.

The September 11 attacks raised to unprecedented heights fears of an assault on critical IT systems. If successful, McKinnon's extradition would be the first from Britain to America in an international hacking case.

www.dailymail.co.uk


#2    SpiderOfDoom

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:30 AM

if this was for real, then why was it not on the news, or was it just another government cover-up?  hmm.gif


#3    bathory

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 10:39 AM

QUOTE
if this was for real, then why was it not on the news, or was it just another government cover-up?


it was on the news


#4    Celumnaz

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 02:54 PM

this is what gives hackers a bad name


#5    Faeden

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 11:28 PM

Many of these child hackers are offered jobs by the governments they tried to make a mockery of, its happened lots of times before where the hackers are given jobs as people that work to stop hackers attacking government sensitive information and secret databases, so the government normally end up using the talent of these kids for there own security. Makes sense if you think about it.

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