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Hacker Gary McKinnon Interviewed

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the not-quite-the-x-files dept.

Security 350

G0rAk writes "The BBC World Service has a half hour audio interview with British hacker Gary McKinnon. As recently reported on/. and BBC News, Gary was arrested and freed on bail pending extradition proceedings to the U.S. There, he faces charges of gaining unauthorised access and causing criminal damage to military computers in his search for evidence of UFO coverups and anti-gravity technology of extra-terrestrial origin. In a very candid interview, Gary re-affirms that he had no malicious intent, was amazed at the ease with which he penetrated the networks, explains in detail what evidence of UFO coverups he saw, describes a personal journey through hell as he became obsessed with the project and how very scared he is that he could be facing up to seventy years in a Virginian jail. A bit of a nut, perhaps. But a fascinating listen that helps a lot in making that judgment. The Interview can be listened to with RealPlayer from 11:32 GMT (06:32 EST) on Saturday until the same time next week."

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350 comments

Thankful only trying to extradite him (-1, Flamebait)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13151115)

The British police could have just shot him [bbc.co.uk] on sight of course.

How funny... (4, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 9 years ago | (#13151198)

So, where is the unfunny/insensitive/tasteless mod when you need it?

Re:How funny... (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 9 years ago | (#13151319)

So, where is the unfunny/insensitive/tasteless mod when you need it?

Well on slashdot generally unfunny posts are modded as "funny", insensitive posts are modded as "informative", and tasteless posts are modded as "insightful".

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1, Insightful)

derEikopf (624124) | about 9 years ago | (#13151240)

The guy jumped the ticket barriers, ran from the police, and then tried to board the train. Do you think the police should just say, "oh well..."? Was this guy completely out of his fucking mind? Of course he was going to be gunned down.

Are you completely indifferent that more than 50 people died because the police didn't stop any suspicious looking people?

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0, Offtopic)

Skiron (735617) | about 9 years ago | (#13151282)

Also remember he was living in the a house linked to the [failed] bombers that tried to blow up London the day before - he was being watched.

The is no smoke without fire.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1)

Armadni General (869957) | about 9 years ago | (#13151300)

No smoke without fire? Haven't you ever tried to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, or with wet wood?

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (2, Insightful)

Mr.Progressive (812475) | about 9 years ago | (#13151304)

...but they shot him.

they shot him for jumping a ticket barrier and evading police. you can't seriously be suggesting he deserved to die for what he did.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1)

ZiakII (829432) | about 9 years ago | (#13151331)

they shot him for jumping a ticket barrier and evading police. you can't seriously be suggesting he deserved to die for what he did.

Yes
When you want to act in a military fashion, you have to remember the shoot first ask questions later saying.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151375)

Someone mod this fucktard down (parent).

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151332)

they shot him for jumping a ticket barrier and evading police. you can't seriously be suggesting he deserved to die for what he did.

No... but given the current climate in London, and this guy's reaction, neither can you blame the security services for what they did.

These are not normal times.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 9 years ago | (#13151357)

These are not normal times.

Beware, or this may become the "normal times".

They Were Justified (1)

rwade (131726) | about 9 years ago | (#13151358)

I would rather risk killing someone comitting a crime -- running from the police -- than potentially allowing the death of dozens of other.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (2, Interesting)

sholden (12227) | about 9 years ago | (#13151369)

No he didn't deserve to die. Given the situation though it's not surprising or unexpected that he did.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151341)

From the eye witness report I read he was brought down on the train by several plain clothes officers who THEN shot him 5 times in the head. Maybe it's me, but after they've got him held down and (presumably) under control where's the need to execute him? Which, after all, is what occured.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151360)

Just because you have been wrestled to the ground doesn't mean you still can't trigger the bomb you are carrying. Also there is a big way from on the ground and under control.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1, Offtopic)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | about 9 years ago | (#13151349)

The guy jumped the ticket barriers, ran from the police, and then tried to board the train.

Except the Police were Plain Clothes men and the million dollar question is whether they identified themselves.Maybe the chap was just running away from some nutters with a gun?

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151353)

Might have been because they were plain-clothes, ya dumb bastard!

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (2, Informative)

mrgreenfur (685860) | about 9 years ago | (#13151355)

The officers were in plainclothes. If you were being chased by a gang of plainclothesed guys you'd jump the barriers too.

He did nothing wrong, but run when a gang of guys ran after him. Thank god that danger is gone.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151365)

The guy jumped the ticket barriers, ran from the police, and then tried to board the train. ... Of course he was going to be gunned down.

London is not part of the USA. London is not part of the USA, thank God. Over here we object to the police behaving like that. They are supposed to serve and protect unarmed civilains, not gun them down. The day that England in general thinks like you do is the day that I leave for part of the world hat hasn't yet sold out to America's religious/big business right.

more than 50 people died because the police didn't stop any suspicious looking people

there's a big difference between "stop" and "pin down and shoot five times without checking to see if he had any weapons". Hope the police "stop" you some time, buddy.

guys waving guns (5, Insightful)

truckaxle (883149) | about 9 years ago | (#13151380)

Yes, but the people chasing him were in plain clothes and he was coming from a bad part of town. I do not know all the details, but if a couple of guys in plain clothes came running after me waving a gun I just might just choose the flight decision path of the the flight or fight if statement - especially if I had a bar bill outstanding.

With that said tho the mulsim's are focusing on this event eventhough it was a mistake and complete ignore the 80 some civilians that islamic extremist kill with intent this weekend in Eygpt.

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (1)

Sheriff Fatman (602092) | about 9 years ago | (#13151244)

Somehow, your .sig seems strangely appropriate in light of that comment...

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151248)

Obviously, the British take their fashion very seriously

The crime: Wearing a Puffa jacket out of season

The punishment: Death penalty without trial

Re:Thankful only trying to extradite him (0)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | about 9 years ago | (#13151312)

Mr Menezes was from the city of Gonzaga in Minas Gerais

which we all know is another name for Minas Morgul...I think the police had plenty of reason to suspect him...

Thank you Gary (5, Insightful)

bigwavejas (678602) | about 9 years ago | (#13151120)

This has scapegoat written all over it and has a striking resemblance to the Kevin Mitnick detention. I find it questionable the government claims he caused 900k USD in damages. How can that be? System cleaning, turning on security (which should have been on already)? Their ineptness lead to this breach of "security", if anything they should thank Gary for pointing out their shortcomings... Better him than a terrorist.

Re:Thank you Gary (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 9 years ago | (#13151160)

We are talking about government property. They will not judge him based on his "intent". They will judge him based on what he DID. The military will treat every civilian like a possible spy. Even if the door is wide open, you do no walk into a military base. Same goes for their network.

Re:Thank you Gary (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 9 years ago | (#13151328)

We all know how well that works judging by the laws protecting intellectual property.

The truth is, they should secure their systems to keep the honest man honest, the script kiddies outside and the crackers in jail. Their current defenses wouldn't have stopped a honest man, as we can see that it didn't stop the script kiddie in the article and for sure it wouldn't have stopped a cracker.

Re:Thank you Gary (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13151344)

Actually, they'll probably judge him based on what he COULD have done, rather than what he did.

Remember, with Mitnick, the prosecutors actually said "well, he didn't actually DO anything... but he COULD have launched nuclear missiles with just a whistle and started world war three!". And that was the basis for refusing bail. Not on what he did. Not on his intent. Only on what he COULD have done (well, not really what he could have logically done, but what a bunch of assholes told a bunch of layment he had the potential to accomplish).

Re:Thank you Gary (-1)

Adrilla (830520) | about 9 years ago | (#13151165)

I believe the damages are the fact that they have to add new security measures to their systems. While, yes, they should've had better security over their networks, they're going to have to upgrade and his hacking is the reason why. So while he is probably being scapegoated, there is a direct correlation between him breaking into the networks, and the costs that will be incurred.

Damages (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 9 years ago | (#13151292)

While it is reasonable to punish this guy for hacking, it is not reasonable to consider extra security measures as part of the damages incurred by him. A consulting company that informed them that extra security was needed would be paid handsomely. You would hardly talk about their service as "damage." The need for the extra security was exactly the same before the break-in as it was after.

To ward off the replies that I know are coming: I am not saying that the guy should be rewarded. I am not saying that what he did was ethical. I am saying that extra security after the fact is not "damage incurred." If someone could show that their need for security increased as a result of the break-in this would be another matter.

Re:Thank you Gary (5, Interesting)

thelost (808451) | about 9 years ago | (#13151171)

I found a recent interview [smh.com.au] with him interesting as in it he mentioned that he was far from the only one nightly sneaking into US Gov computer networks, saying that he saw many others from all over the world doing exactly the same as him. How well protected are these systems really then?

Re:Thank you Gary (3, Funny)

yotto (590067) | about 9 years ago | (#13151286)

Please don't take offense at me if I voice my inability to believe the word of someone who breaks into military computers to look for evidence of UFOs. "I see people breaking into these comptuers all the time." Was that before or after you were pulled into the mothership and shown the proof that we never landed on the moon?

Re:Thank you Gary (2, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13151247)

The BBC World Service has a half hour audio interview with British hacker Gary McKinnon. As recently reported on/. and BBC News, Gary was arrested and freed on bail pending extradition proceedings to the U.S.. There, he faces charges of gaining unauthorised access and causing criminal damage to military computers in his search for evidence of UFO coverups and anti-gravity technology of extra-terrestrial origin.

Doesn't this make him:

+ A cracker - not a hacker.
+ Insane.

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

guitaristx (791223) | about 9 years ago | (#13151368)

Doesn't this make him:

+ A cracker - not a hacker.
+ Insane.

Thank you!

Re:Thank you Gary (3, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 9 years ago | (#13151251)

Let's just point it out: he's a script kiddie. He basically didn't do anything that 6 month experience using the internet and an interest in UFOs wouldn't teach him.

He got into a bloody cemetary ffs! He only got in because the military personnel there were too stupid to change the default password. He used his own email address for god's sake!

a 70 year penalty for something a script kiddie can do is more than harsh: it's outrageous.

Re:Thank you Gary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151299)

You're such a tool.

This has scapegoat written all over it and has a striking resemblance to the Kevin Mitnick detention.

If anything about this bears resemblance to the Kevin Mitnick case it is that Mitnick also hacked an enormous number of systems.

I find it questionable the government claims he caused 900k USD in damages. How can that be? System cleaning, turning on security (which should have been on already)?

You obviously have never been on the receiving end of something like this. Even if he did no damage, that has to be established. And that costs money.

Their ineptness lead to this breach of "security", if anything they should thank Gary for pointing out their shortcomings...

You people just never get it, do you? If they want people to point out their shortcomings, they can ask them to do it. Who does this guy think he is? Why does he have the right to break into their systems and "show them their shortcomings" without them wanting him to?

Besides, this is moot anyway, since that wasn't the reason he broke into them. He broke into them because he wanted to get at the data. That's not just pointing out something, that's a serious crime.

And most important of all: he didn't point them out. Can you get that into your thick little skull? He broke in, tried to get the info. He didn't tell anybody about their security holes.

All in all, this guy did absolutely no good for anyone but himself, and a serious amount of harm.

You are such an imbecil.

900k is trumped up by not unreasonable (1)

Bishop (4500) | about 9 years ago | (#13151350)

The 900k USD figure is ofcourse trumped up. It would include the direct costs of reinstalling all of the computers that were compromised or suspected of being compromised. This figure would also include the forensics and investigation costs. These costs do add up quickly. Labour, even army labour, is not cheap, and lots of staff across organizations would have been involved. The 900k would also include bullshit costs such as the time spent by a General to read the incident reports, and the cost of the pizza the commander bought to congradulate everyone on a job well done.

It can be argued that these costs are fiction. Most of the labour would have been handled by staff that would have been sitting around anyway. But if there were no incidents then some of that staff would not be required at all.

Once again... (2, Insightful)

rel4x (783238) | about 9 years ago | (#13151121)

...Reminding us that you don't necessarily have to be stupid to be more than a little crazy...

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151200)

He wasn't actually very clever. All he did was scan for windows workstations with a blank admin password.

That's even lower than script kiddie. He didn't even have to learn to compile hax0r.c, instead he just ran a scanner.

Transcript? (1)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | about 9 years ago | (#13151122)

I really dislike Real-Streams and a transcript is nicer anyway IMHO :-)

Re:Transcript? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151262)

Seconded!
Why must I interrupt my music?
Oh wait... Now I know how the vision-impaired must feel 98% of the time.

Never mind.

Re:Transcript? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151296)

I agree. Could someone possibly convert this to an open format for those of us who prefer not to litter our nice linux boxes with the vulgar media files and their respective players? What's with BBC anyways? I thought they were among the more enlightened of the propagandists?

Re:Transcript? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151348)

Real audio would be horrible even if it were open; the transport protocol is very badly designed, and requires elaborate workarounds to cooperate to any extent with firewalls.

So yes, I would also like a transcoded version in something else.

Re:Transcript? (5, Informative)

mrtroy (640746) | about 9 years ago | (#13151297)

Transcript:
He says he is just a geek
He says he didnt damage systems, but the US gov considers it damage if you even have to make changes once you know the system is comprimised
He was a hairdresser, then got an "Access certification"
Then he started doing research in UFO research
He believes there is anti-gravity propulsion that was recovered by alien spacecraft
He continues sounding like a nut about UFO technology that the USA now uses
Claims he wants to provide the free energy that the US army uses to the rest of the world
He "hacked" by accessing computers with blank admin passes (windoze)
Allegedly there was mulitple people on the same networks
Haha...he knows this from netstat, there was connections all over
Apparently he found proof because people were airbrushing out UFO's from satellite images
Also an excel spreadsheet with "non terrestrial officers" on the list
Hahahahahaha she asked if he was doing a lot of drugs during this time, and he said he was smoking a bit of weed
He stopped washing himself at one point he said
He left his job and lost his girlfriend
But he lived with that girlfriend even afterwords (what a pimp!)
Somehow they bring Iraq and 9/11 into this
He got busted after playing videogames all night
Americans started talking about extradition, so thats when he was getting concerned, it somehow jumped from 2 years to 4 years to 18 years to 70 years.
He thinks he is a scapegoat for all the hacking going on

Something Legal in Nature (0, Troll)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | about 9 years ago | (#13151124)

Cue Slashdot armchair attorneys.

Re:Something Legal in Nature (2, Informative)

soma_0806 (893202) | about 9 years ago | (#13151230)

You know, some of us on /. are actual attorneys. I'm finishing up law school now and at least three of my teachers are avid readers. So maybe some of those opinions are worth paying a little attention to....

This smells a little like flame-bait to me.

Perhaps I can get your opinion on this (1)

heinousjay (683506) | about 9 years ago | (#13151354)

What do the posts that start with IANAL smell like?

Drats! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151125)

I would have had the first post if
it was not for that darned space-time distortion!

Anti-Grav? (5, Funny)

yotto (590067) | about 9 years ago | (#13151128)

If he found the plans for anti-gravity, why doesn't he just make some boots or perhaps a belt and leap over the wall? That's what Lex Luthor would do.

Re:Anti-Grav? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151175)

Yeah, but you would need the skills of Macgyver to make something like that in prison...

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151130)

This is my first post.. Woo hoo!

He's in for it (3, Interesting)

confusion (14388) | about 9 years ago | (#13151131)

The US government is going to make an example out of him, assuming he actually gets convicted.

I have to say, though, that even if the government computers were wide open, finding documents about UFO's seems like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Jerry
http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]

Re:He's in for it (2, Insightful)

Mahou (873114) | about 9 years ago | (#13151174)

not really, any UFO documents could just be a bunch of fake stuff to distract hackers so they don't actually find anything important. seriously why would you have UFO files connected to a network (assuming you would have any digital data in the first place rather than just paper and ink) unless as misinformation?

I think .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | about 9 years ago | (#13151202)

he sounds like he's well on his way to an insanity defense ....

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151134)

I'm the GNAA and I vote

I can't believe Snape kills Dumbledore! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151135)

What will the children think??!

Re:I can't believe Snape kills Dumbledore! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151145)

And what about that hot anal sex between Harry and Hermione?

Re:I can't believe Snape kills Dumbledore! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151197)

Now THAT'S something I want to see, err, read! Maybe include Mourning Myrtle somehow, she's cute :-)

Re:I can't believe Snape kills Dumbledore! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151314)

How the heck did /. manage to attach my post to the parent of the one I submitted it to? Jeez.
I was, of course, referring to that hot anal sex the other AC mentioned

Real format (1)

dbolger (161340) | about 9 years ago | (#13151138)

Is there any reason why people keep using this? Does anybody have an mp3 mirror, I'd be interested in listening to this guy.

Hack this format (3, Insightful)

Free_Trial_Thinking (818686) | about 9 years ago | (#13151144)

How about someone hack this real player (tm) interview and put it into MP3 for us?

I'll do it if someone sends me instructions. I think this BBC encourages remixing, and format changing stuff, right?

Sincerly,

A concerned /. community member in MD, US

Re:Hack this format (1)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 9 years ago | (#13151162)

So, the word "hack" refers to converting between data formats now?

Re:Hack this format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151268)

download audacity (free open source) and LAME (ditto) flip up audacity, you may have to do somehting to get it to play well with lame (can't recall any difficulty) tell audacity to record what you hear. play the stream/file. then clean it up (any buffering from a stream leaders, footers) and "export to mp3" works with everything, but only at 1x

Re:Hack this format (5, Informative)

JasonFriedman (637086) | about 9 years ago | (#13151325)

if you wget the .ram it contains:

rtsp://rmv8.bbc.net.uk/worldservice/interview.ra

use mplayer to download it:

mplayer -dumpstream -dumpfile interview.rm rtsp://rmv8.bbc.net.uk/worldservice/interview.ra

then convert to wav:

mplayer interview.rm -ao pcm -aofile interview.wav

use lame to convert to mp3:

lame -h interview.wav interview.mp3

Not a fan of Real's chicanery (0, Offtopic)

PktLoss (647983) | about 9 years ago | (#13151146)

What is the preffered non-real alternative to play .ram files these days?

Re:Not a fan of Real's chicanery (1)

dago (25724) | about 9 years ago | (#13151221)

helix player [helixcommunity.org] ;)

Re:Not a fan of Real's chicanery (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151226)

UnReal [unreal.com] .

Re:Not a fan of Real's chicanery (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 9 years ago | (#13151233)

Since the topic is hax0ring of military computers, I believe this quote is fitting: "The only winning move is not to play." - WOPR.

Don't take this crap anymore! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151151)

People, it's time we take a stand against the Slashdot editors!

Imagine if Slashdot was an OS, and every dupe, unchecked story, instance of google ass kissing, advertisement hidden in an article, etc was some sort of security exploit.

What would you get? And would this OS stand the critisism of the slashdot crowd?

Join the slashdot jihad!
http://www.anti-slash.org/ [anti-slash.org]

Yeah, right (1)

Renraku (518261) | about 9 years ago | (#13151152)

If I were the government, i'd have a weak-security honeypot sitting out there somewhere with faked UFO documents. That way when someone see's them, they'll think, "Big Bird is a front for communication to other aliens to tell them that we're already owned by the greys!"

The funny part comes when they try to go to the media.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

peculiarmethod (301094) | about 9 years ago | (#13151201)

" If I were the government, i'd have a weak-security honeypot sitting.."

Yeah, well if _I_ were the govt, I'd put the same fake info in the same type honeypot, but my govt would be smart enough to make that "fake" information _real_ so that real info is discredited along with the hacker. Two birds, one stone. But that's just me and my vastly superior govt. Thank God we have people like you running ours. :)

Re:Yeah, right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151249)

Are you kidding me? The article is amusing to read, but when Gary is pressed for details he answers,

"I can't remember," says Gary. "I was smoking a lot of dope at the time. Not good for the intellect."

That's, umm, an understatement.

Re:Yeah, right (1)

GigsVT (208848) | about 9 years ago | (#13151359)

There are some rumors that people that are to be brought into highly classified environments are given disinformation about UFOs and such as a test to see if they will keep quiet or not.

If this is true, it makes stories like Bob Lazar's much easier to understand. I like Lazar and he doesn't strike me as a kook compared to many others that are often lumped in with him.

IS GARY MCKINNON... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151170)

Is Gary McKinnon a nigger? Because I HATE NIGGERS.

Poor Goofball (2, Interesting)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | about 9 years ago | (#13151178)

The guy thought that 9/11 was a hoax and thought he found evidence of UFO's and "Non-Terrestrial Officers" being transfered, thinking that there is some fleet of Anti-Gravity Spacecraft. Now he is facing 70 years in an American federal prison. That is a lot of work for nothing really show for it.

Silly American military for setting up Windows with blank administrator passwords too. Whole thing is kinda silly.

Re:Poor Goofball (1)

SocialEngineer (673690) | about 9 years ago | (#13151362)

No, he thought 9/11 was a conspiracy (which was his own words). It could have been set up by the gov't, blah blah blah. A hoax would mean it didn't happen at all.

So.. (1)

dotdan (902253) | about 9 years ago | (#13151179)

Rather than just saying "you hacked government computers, that's illegal, off to jail," they're charging him for close to a million dollars of damage on machines which should have been secured from the first place?

I'm glad to know my tax dollars are supporting cracking down on the real criminals.

(+1 insightful, -1 flamebait)

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151253)

It's not just about increasing security, although that's part of it. They more than likely had to wipe all of the hard drives of the machines he accessed to ensure that he didn't leave any trojans behind.

While he doesn't seem to be that sophisticated, for all we know the UFO thing could be just an act to cover his true purpose.

Re:So.. (1)

dotdan (902253) | about 9 years ago | (#13151363)

True, but if the boxes were that easy to gain access to, they should be wiped regardless.

Long sentence (0)

petteri_666 (745343) | about 9 years ago | (#13151185)

That sentence sounds really absurd, Seventy years? Don't really know the US law, but I thought that in modern world there would be no sentences over 20 years.

Re:Long sentence (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 9 years ago | (#13151283)

That sentence sounds really absurd, Seventy years? Don't really know the US law, but I thought that in modern world there would be no sentences over 20 years.

Ummm... what country are you in? I'm more than a bit curious when you say "no sentences over 20 years." Lets start with murder (USA, 25 to life). Some US CEOs were just sentenced to 25 years for massive fraud. Drug dealers routinely get more than 20. So, not sure where you are from, but it must have lighter punishments.

Re:Long sentence (3, Informative)

tsm_sf (545316) | about 9 years ago | (#13151318)

Don't really know the US law, but I thought that in modern world there would be no sentences over 20 years.

1) It's common to stack sentences over here. A murderer might end up facing several consecutive life sentances.
2) Prison guards have a very, very strong lobbying presence in California (not sure about the rest of the US). They frequently agitate for longer prison time, no matter what the crime.
(a repulsive and immoral practice, imho)

70 years is too much but.... (4, Insightful)

ShatteredDream (636520) | about 9 years ago | (#13151204)

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. If you know you're not supposed to sneak around a company or agency's property, then why do you think it's ok to break into their computers? In most parts of the world, just walking into someone's house and looking around without the owner's permission would get you beaten or killed by the owner. It's common courtesy and most of these "hackers" seem to lack any of it.

As for the "horror" of his extradition, don't blame uncle sam. The British government is big enough to tell our government to piss off if it felt such a thing weren't warranted. The main reason that we don't do such a thing to our citizens is that most countries that would want our people sent over to them wouldn't give them a fair trial, and that's not inherently because they're American. A Chinese is probably no more like to get a fair trial in Mugabe's Zimbabwe than an American. Foreign governments know that if our people attack them, that our law enforcement will arrest them and prosecute them, even if the country is hostile. The feds threatened to arrest the Americans who defaced Chinese websites after the PLA-Air Force brough our AWAC down early in Bush's first term. Few governments, China's especially, would do that to their own people.

Every so often I get some dumbass at my university trying to get me to teach them those "mad skillz" of h@x0ring that apparently all CS majors have. My interest was always in programming, not in things like that. They even have the gall to look at me like I'm the asshole, when I tell them that I've never bothered to learn such things, that I feel that what they want to do is morally wrong and that they should learn to actually respect others' privacy and property. The same people would probably wonder what the hell is wrong with someone who asked them to teach them how to use a jimmy to open up some frat boy's car so they could screw around in his mustang. IMO, there's really no difference.

Re:70 years is too much but.... (4, Funny)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | about 9 years ago | (#13151275)

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

You have just disqualified yourself from any position in the current US Administration.

Re:70 years is too much but.... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | about 9 years ago | (#13151310)

The main reason that we don't do such a thing to our citizens is that most countries that would want our people sent over to them wouldn't give them a fair trial, and that's not inherently because they're American. A Chinese is probably no more like to get a fair trial in Mugabe's Zimbabwe than an American.

And people wonder why the US is loathe to join the ICC. [icc-cpi.int]

Nutters are Criminals too.. (2, Insightful)

Nikkos (544004) | about 9 years ago | (#13151206)

I don't care if he found a picture of ET doing shots with Paris Hilton. He hacked into a computer system and started fucking around. I don't care if he's a scapegoat - he still broke the law.

Re:Nutters are Criminals too.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151284)

I don't care if he found a picture of ET doing shots with Paris Hilton.

I don't know about alcohol but if he managed to get a picture of ET giving Paris one of those alien anal probes that they always do, that would be worth the risk! :)

Re:Nutters are Criminals too.. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 9 years ago | (#13151301)

I think an insanity defense could work well for him.

If you're insane, you're not responsible for your actions, you're just as guilty though. Big difference...

Extradition (2, Insightful)

panurge (573432) | about 9 years ago | (#13151212)

Is it true that inmates of US jails are regularly subjected to homosexual attack without protection from the authorities, as the accused seems to believe? It seems to be a common theme here on /.

If so, I would hope that an English judge would block extradition on the basis of the failure of the US to subscribe to the UN Declaration on Human Rights.

Of course, in the UK prison system you have the right to inhabit overcrowded cells, be locked up with racist murderers to see if you get killed, and eventually commit suicide. But that's OK because it is protecting our rights and we are the good guys.

Yes, I am getting a bit tedious about this. But I am really annoyed that the UK courts so far have failed to perceive that this case is bovine excrement of the CMA variety. You exposed the weakness of our security! Shoot the messenger!

I call B.S. on some of what he says (4, Insightful)

fakeid (242403) | about 9 years ago | (#13151214)

At one point in the interview, this guy talks about some of the things he saw, in regards to UFO activity. He claims he was able to view a "large image" over "graphical remote control", but he didn't have any proof because it was "too large to download". Uhm, if it's being displayed on your screen, that's taking the same amount of time to download I would guess; even if he was seeing a scaled image, he could still do a screenshot, right? I think he's both a bit crazy and/or a liar...

I will agree that $900,000 of damage seems a bit of out line, however.

Re:I call B.S. on some of what he says (1)

mrtroy (640746) | about 9 years ago | (#13151371)

He claims he was able to view a "large image" over "graphical remote control", but he didn't have any proof because it was "too large to download".
Well perhaps that local computer could render a zoomed out view, and then just transmit the resolution of that machine to you.

But that did sound a bit flunky.

Frankly, I think this guy is a bit of an idiot, his "hacking" could be done by a 3 year old, the government is definitely at fault for running windows that defaults to blank admin passes.

I recently discovered my admin pass was blank, and thought how could I be that dumb?
Well windows was already installed on this laptop when I got it, and I just had to add my account when I first booted. What a blatent lapse of security, why would windows allow any password to be blank, especially the admin pass?

DARPA (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | about 9 years ago | (#13151239)

Might have invented the internet, but they've obviously not heard of a firewall.

Cannabis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151255)

He admits to smoking it while hacking the govt. He is _confident_ the dope didn't make him see things that weren't there.

My experience at college would disagree.

(Posting as AC to keep my job.)

Re:Cannabis (0, Offtopic)

Toxygen (738180) | about 9 years ago | (#13151381)

The hallucinogenic effects of marijuana are extremely small. In order to actually get a reasonable level of hallucination, you'd have to smoke so much weed that you'd probably pass out from smoke inhalation long before enough of the chemical made it's way into your system.

I dunno what you were smoking in college, but it wasn't pure marijuana.

Non-terrestrial Officers (2, Interesting)

mnemonic_ (164550) | about 9 years ago | (#13151260)

A Guardian article [guardian.co.uk] interviewing McKinnon with much of the same information in the audio interview. The most interesting part of his XYZ conspiracy "evidence" that McKinnon describes is the "non-terrestrial officers" mentioning he found in US military documents. He seems to believe that a complete U.S. space army already exists, with those involved based in military orbiting stations.

Unemployed? (1)

maggern (597586) | about 9 years ago | (#13151274)

>Mr McKinnon, an unemployed computer systems administrator, is known on the internet as "Solo".

He is able to hack into many of the most secure systems in the world, but not able to hold a IT-job?

Maybe the US government should punish him by making him do IT security for them for 10 years, he-he.

Re:Unemployed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151377)

Obviously, you didn't listen to the interview, or RTFT (read the fucking transcript) because if you had you would have learned he got in to a lot of systems by simply scanning for windows systems that had blank administrator passwords. Plus, he also noticed that a lot of the systems he got on had already been compromised as was seeing connections from China, North Korea, Russia, etc. "Most secure systems in the world" -riiigghht.

For those of us who can't/won't run RealPlayer... (1)

aking137 (266199) | about 9 years ago | (#13151333)

Here's another [sundayherald.com] .

Buhahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13151384)

He can't possible be the greatest hacker alive.

If he was he wouldn't have been caught right!

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