The British man accused of hacking 97 military and NASA webpages, which is considered to be world's biggest military hack of all time, has lost the appeal in front of the House of Lords. After he was convicted for the violation of top-secret online properties, Gary McKinnon, a 42-year-old unemployed network administrator, tried to stop his extradition to the United States.
Today, the highest British court rejected his plea, so soon he will have to face an American High Court. In order to prevent that from happening, McKinnon said that he already pleaded to the European Court of Human Rights.
Although the man claims that he just wanted to get some information on UFOs from a more reliable source, the U.S. Government accused him of not only entering some prohibited areas, but also of making changes and causing the malfunctioning of several computers.
"Having gained access to these computers the appellant deleted data from them including critical operating system files from nine computers, the deletion of which shut down the entire US Army’s Military District of Washington network of over 2000 computers for 24 hours, significantly disrupting Governmental functions," says the House of Lords document released after the verdict. In addition, the total amount of money necessary to clean up the damage reached up to $700.000.
McKinnon is advised to plead guilty, to get a 3-4 year penalty, with only 6-12 months to be spent in a U.S. prison. In case he refuses collaboration, the American Government could accuse him of terrorism. "If, however, the appellant chose not to cooperate, and were then extradited and convicted, he might expect to receive a sentence of 8-10 years, possibly longer, and would not be repatriated to the UK for any part of it. He would accordingly serve the whole sentence in a US prison (possibly high security) with at best some 15% remission." says the report of the High Court.