McKinnon’s alleged crime is described in a 2008 court decision:
Using his home computer the appellant, through the internet, identified US Government network computers with an open Microsoft Windows connection and from those extracted the identities of certain administrative accounts and associated passwords. Having gained access to those accounts he installed unauthorised remote access and administrative software called “remotely anywhere” that enabled him to access and alter data upon the American computers at any time and without detection by virtue of the programme masquerading as a Windows operating system. Once “remotely anywhere” was installed, he then installed software facilitating both further compromises to the computers and also the concealment of his own activities. Using this software he was able to scan over 73,000 US Government computers for other computers and networks susceptible to similar compromise.
McKinnon allegedly accessed 53 Army computers, 26 Navy computers, 16 NASA computers, and one computer each at the Department of Defense and the Air Force. McKinnon then allegedly deleted data that included:
- “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”
- “2,455 user accounts on a US Army computer that controlled access to an Army computer network, causing these computers to reboot and become inoperable”
- “logs from computers at US Naval Weapons Station Earle, one of which was used for monitoring the identity, location, physical condition, staffing and battle readiness of Navy ships, deletion of these files rendering the Base’s entire network of over 300 computers inoperable.”
The Pentagon claims McKinnon’s actions cost the government $700,000.
As it should be. McKinnon was not, whatever some people want you to believe, some innocent kid who inadvertently blundered into the Pentagon’s computers in search of evidence of UFOs. On the contrary there is ample evidence – not the least of which comes from his own statements – that his hacking was a politically-motivated action. It Was McKinnon who left a message on a US army computer he had infiltrated which read:
“US foreign policy is akin to Government-sponsored terrorism these days … It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year … I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels … “