Brit hacker set for the cooler

U.S. prosecutors have charged a British man with hacking into nearly 100 government and private-sector computers, disrupting military operations and causing $900,000 in damage over the course of a year.

Prosecutors said 36-year-old Gary McKinnon, an unemployed computer programmer living in north London, stole passwords, deleted files, monitored traffic and shut down computer networks on military bases from Pearl Harbour to Connecticut.

McKinnon's actions shut down Internet access for thousands of Washington-area military employees for three days, according to federal charges filed in Virginia and New Jersey, and disrupted operations at a Navy station in New Jersey shortly after the September 11 hijacking attacks of last year.

McKinnon also hacked into NASA, the University of Tennessee, a public library in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and several private businesses, according to the charges.

"This is an incredibly sophisticated cyber criminal," said Newark U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. "He was a very busy guy."

Prosecutors said they would seek to extradite McKinnon, who is charged with seven counts of computer fraud. If found guilty, he could face up to $1.75 million in fines and 70 years in jail.

View: U.S. charges Brit hacker

News source: Yahoo News UK & Ireland

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