Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Gary McKinnon: The Extraordinary Hacker

Gary McKinnon: The Extraordinary Hacker

Gary McKinnon (born 10 February 1966) is a Scottish systems administrator and hacker who was accused in 2002 of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time," In 2002, an exceptionally odd message appeared on a US Army computer screen: “Your security system is crap,” it read. “I am Solo. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels.” It was later identified as the work of Scottish systems administrator, Gary McKinnon. McKinnon suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, which is the least severe form of autism. The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome certainly match Gary’s actions: that is, highly intelligent with an exceptional understanding of complex systems. Though sufferers often have difficulty reading social cues and acknowledging the impact of their often-obsessive behavior, they tend to be geniuses in one particular subject. 

For Gary, it was computers. Gary has been accused of executing the largest ever hack of United States government computer networks including Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA systems. The court had recommended that McKinnon be apprehended to the United States to face charges of illegally accessing 97 computers, causing a total of $700,000 in damage. Even more interesting are McKinnon’s motives for the large scale hackings, which he claims were in search of information on UFOs. He believed the US government was hiding such information in its military computers.

On 16 October 2012, after a series of legal proceedings in Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May withdrew his extradition order to the United States.
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References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_McKinnon

BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20730627
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19946902

Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/05/gary-mckinnon-pardon-obama-administration

Free Gary McKinnon:
http://freegary.org.uk/
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STSTW 2013

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