A London man described as the "world's biggest computer hacker" has been arrested.
Gary McKinnon, 39, was seized by the Met's extradition unit at his Wood Green home.
The unemployed former computer engineer is accused of causing the US government $1billion of damage by breaking into its most secure computers at the
Pentagon and Nasa. He is likely to be extradited to America to face eight counts of computer crime in 14 states and could be jailed for 70 years.
Most of the alleged hacking took place in 2001 and 2002. At one stage the US thought it was the work of the al Qaeda terror network.
Friends said that he broke into the networks from his home computer to try to prove his theory that the US was covering up the existence of UFOs.
He is accused of a series of hacking offences including deleting "critical" files from military computers. The US authorities said the cost of
tracking him down and correcting the alleged problems was more than £570,000. The offences could also see him fined up to £950,000 if found guilty
on all charges.
The charge sheet alleges that he hacked into an army computer at Fort Myer, Virginia, where he obtained codes, information and commands before
deleting about 1,300 user accounts.
Other systems he hacked into included the Pentagon's network and US army, navy and air force computers.
Reports when he was first indicted said that McKinnon found his career as a computer engineer tedious.
One message updating old schoolfriends on a website read simply: "Computers (Yawn)".
Friends said he was desperate to prove that the Americans had mounted a huge cover-up to deny his belief that aliens had visited earth.
Andrew Edwards, who has known McKinnon since their days together at Highgate Wood comprehensive, said in 2002: "Gary told me all he was doing was
looking for proof of a cover-up over UFOs.
"He's been interested in UFOs for some time and believes the Americans are holding back information - although he didn't find any proof."
it looks like the smoky man strikes again. u can never be able to get the information u wanted to prove UFOs exist through the internet. the
government controls it. this guy dig himself into a deep hole until he realize it was futile.
[edit on 8-6-2005 by deltaboy]