London man arrested for 2001 Nasa hacking

London Police have arrested a man wanted in the U.S. for hacking government systems in 2001 and 2002.

Police in London arrested an unemployed computer systems administrator on Tuesday, over two years after US authorities said they would request his extradition to answer charges of hacking US government computer systems.

Gary McKinnon, 39, was arrested at his home in northeast London at 6.30 p.m. local time on Tuesday and taken to a central London police station. He will appear in court later Wednesday at an extradition hearing, according to a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Service, London's police force.

Although McKinnon was indicted in the US in November 2002, London police only received the extradition warrant recently, the spokeswoman said.

The extradition warrant alleges that he gained illegal access and made unauthorized modifications to 53 computers belonging to Nasa, the US Army, the US Navy, the US Department of Defense and the US Air Force between Feb. 1, 2001 and March 19, 2002, she said.

McKinnon was indicted by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in November 2002 on seven counts of fraud and related activity in connection with computers.

The indictment alleges he obtained administrator privileges on a number of government computers, and then used this power to delete user accounts and install software enabling him to remotely control the computers.

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Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
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