Gary McKinnon, an Englishman accused by the US Military of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time" by hacking into the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Department of Defence and NASA, has given a video interview to the BBC where he says he was motivated by trying to uncover photographic evidence of UFO's and suppressed technology. He also says he found that evidence.
In a rebuttal to US press hysteria over the case, McKinnon says that he broke in by finding Windows computers that had emtpy Administrator passwords, used RemoteAnywhere to do control the remote desktops, and there were constantly other hackers from around the world on these systems already. "There were no lines of defence" says McKinnon.
Things get really interesting/strange when he says that he was told by a NASA photographic expert that NASA "... regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging." McKinnon says he found a satellite image before it had been retouched, viewed it on the remote system and started to download it, but was discovered and disconnected. Wouldn't you know it?
The story has been debated by uber-geeks over at Slashdot, where most agree that, technically, some parts of his story don't hold up. Some Slashdot readers suggested that McKinnon actually broke into a NASA honeypot, a deliberate trap filled with false, though tantalizing, information in order to catch hackers.
Whatever the truth, it makes for an interesting story whichever way you look at it. The US want McKinnon jailed for 60 years and are trying to extradite him from the UK. Are the US Government's networks really that insecure? Did McKinnon find real information or was he deliberately fed misinformation so he could be caught? Is 60 years too much for accessing an insecure system? Let me know what you think.