01
Aug
09

Gary Mckinnon and the air force budget

mckinnon

Today I was listening to the radio and I heard a story that I think many others are already familiar with — that of Gary Mckinnon. Today he lost his appeal to be tried in Britain and instead will be extradited to the U.S. unless other legal circumstances intervene.

Many articles refer to Mckinnon as a “hacker” who entered 97 military and intelligence computers in the United States. However, the news program I listened to made it clear that this label was deceptive. Mckinnon entered these sensitive computer networks by typing “username” under the username prompt and “password” under the password prompt. He did this for all 97 computers. But there’s more, Mckinnon is a sufferer of asperger’s syndrome and was poking around in the U.S. computers trying to find evidence of UFO’s. He admitted his actions, though he did apparently leave a message saying “i will continue to disrupt.” Also, Mckinnon’s diagnosis came in 2008, well after he was already in big legal trouble, but the fact that he was looking for UFO’s makes me think that diagnosis can’t be far off.

It’s hard to tell how dangerous Mckinnon actually is, but it does seem that there is the possiblity of overreaction here. Especially since the military must be really embarrassed by Mckinnon’s lack of sophistication.

Since the air force is in charge of cybersecurity for our country, maybe they should stop asking for more F-22’s and invest a few dollars to change the passwords over from “password.”

Note: I filed this post under “defense” but feel free to interpret that classification ironically

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