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No Charges In UK For Gary McKinnon 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the end-of-a-long-road dept.
clickclickdrone sends this news from the BBC: "Computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who is wanted in the U.S., will not face charges in the U.K., the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC said the chances of a successful conviction were 'not high.' He announced the decision some three months after Home Secretary Theresa May stopped the extradition. Mr. McKinnon, 46, admits accessing U.S. government computers but says he was looking for evidence of UFOs. The U.S. authorities tried to extradite him to face charges of causing $800,000 (£487,000) to military computer systems and he would have faced up to 60 years in prison if convicted."
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No Charges In UK For Gary McKinnon

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  • by halfEvilTech (1171369) on Friday December 14, 2012 @12:41PM (#42287935)

    Damages they are claiming though come from having to fix the vulnerabilites that let him in in the first place. That and the money spent on the legal bills for embarassing them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 14, 2012 @12:53PM (#42288087)

    I buy 3000 rolls of toilet paper drive to the middle of a busy interstate and dump them in a huge pile. I didnt cause any physical damage so therefore I am not guilty of anything. Is that your logic here? If someone had a fender bender because of it then I am guilty?

    Look here is the facts he broke into someones computer (in this case the US gov). They then had to go thru and re-audit everything (as they are required to by law). Spending huge amounts of time (and money) checking things out that were otherwise fine. And remember contractors are not paid 10 bucks an hour (the people most likely doing it). They are paid 50+ per hour...

    They are probably dropping it because the other side doesnt want to bother with it but wanted a way out as they buy the guys story. The US and the UK are BFF's... You are right he did not do much harm but did waste lots of peoples time.

  • by FrostedWheat (172733) on Friday December 14, 2012 @12:59PM (#42288141)
    Right, so the real people responsible will be charged now? The ones who left seriously insecure military computers connected to the internet? </naive>
  • by Albanach (527650) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:15PM (#42288341) Homepage

    Surely if you discovered computers important to national security were unprotected, were using default passwords allowing easy access, or hadn't been appropriately patched and maintained, you would have to treat these machines as potentially compromised whether or not you know someone had accessed them.

    As a result, all the costs you mention, other than the legal ones, would necessarily have to be incurred anyway.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:46PM (#42288807) Journal

    They wouldn't have had to fix all of that without his interference.

    Please NEVER EVER get a job in security.

    Ever

    Ever

    Ever.

    Once such important systems had even been found potentially compromised, they become entirely untrustworthy and cannot be used.

    They noticed McKinnon by sheer blind luck.

    If it had been a competent agent of Mossad or something they would never have noticed. Or by someone as competent as the guys that made Flame.

    But the fact that they were wildly insecure meant that they would have had to shut down the entire system basically instantly and repair it.

    They were bloody lucky it was McKinnon and not someone else.

  • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Friday December 14, 2012 @01:47PM (#42288821) Journal

    The UK prosecutor can't be bothered to charge him, because the damage wasn't done in the UK (so there isn't really any public interest in prosecuting) and the US didn't want to hand over all the (sensitive) evidence (of the details of all their military computer networks) to the UK authorities (for them to be made available in open court).

    The CPS not bringing a case doesn't mean they think he's innocent, just that they don't think it's worth the trouble to try to prosecute him.

  • by sjames (1099) on Friday December 14, 2012 @02:14PM (#42289125) Homepage

    Yes they would IF they were doing their jobs. As soon as it was found that someone from the outside could (even in theory) gain access to those machines, they were untrustworthy and needed to be wiped completely and re-installed. For all we know, actual enemies had been playing in those systems for quite a while and would still be there if not for McKinnon bumbling in and making noise.

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