Threat Management

NASA hacker loses extradition appeal

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker accused of breaking into NASA and Pentagon computers, has lost his latest appeal to stop extradition from the United Kingdom.

The unemployed 42-year-old broke into the government systems between 2001 and 2002 to prove they had lax security, he claims. He said he left notes to warn how easy it was to hack into the networks.

In past statements, McKinnon maintained that, "My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on there and there were no passwords means that there was no security."

The U.S. government claimed that he did $700,000 worth of damage. He has never been charged in the U.K., even after admitting he gained access to the computers from his London home. He denies doing any damage and said he hacked into the systems to find evidence of extraterrestrials.

According to published reports, his British lawyers said after the extradition hearing that "American officials involved in this case have stated that they want to see him 'fry'.”

They also said that they would appeal his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

If found guilty in the United States, McKinnon could face up to 70 years in prison and fines of up to $1.75 million.

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