Gary McKinnon

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Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon (* 1966 in Glasgow ) is a British gray hat hacker , also known by the alias Solo. He was accused by the United States of having committed "the greatest attack on military computers". McKinnon's motivation was his interest in suppressed information about UFOs, which he became aware of in 2001 after the Disclosure Project . Subsequently, in the years 2000–2002 he researched numerous computer networks of the US military and NASA for evidence. He is therefore often referred to in the media as a UFO hacker . In 2012, with a decision by Interior Secretary Theresa May , the extradition request by the US judiciary was finally rejected.


The system administrator is charged with infiltrating 97 computers owned by the US armed forces and NASA in 2001 and 2002 . The computer network comprised Army , Air Force and Navy computers from the US Department of Defense and NASA.

Disclosure Project - May 9, 2001 Witnesses from military and civilian organizations appeared at the National Press Club in Washington and shared their experiences regarding UFOs and secrecy with the aim of disclosing UFO secrecy.

McKinnon claims to have searched for computers without a password (blank password) using a self-written Perl script and then installed the remote maintenance software pcAnywhere on the computers. McKinnon has already confessed to the fact and claims that he only broke into the computer to obtain information about UFOs and extraterrestrial technology, and he allegedly struck gold.

The US prosecutor accuses Gary McKinnon of having caused damage of up to USD 900,000 through his activities in the computer networks and wants to bring him to court in the USA. If convicted in the United States , he will face a sentence of up to 70 years in prison and a US $ 1.75 million fine.

After his appeal against extradition to the United States was rejected in London on April 3, 2007, he was threatened with trial in the United States. The case went to the European Court of Human Rights in August 2008 , one of the last chances not to be extradited to the US. However, this application was also rejected on August 28, 2008. Ultimately, he lost a trial in the High Court on July 31, 2009 and was about to be extradited. In 2009 he got support from prominent musicians like Sting and others. For example, David Gilmour , guitarist for Pink Floyd , re-recorded the rock classic Chicago by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with the consent of composer Graham Nash and with the participation of Chrissie Hynde , Bob Geldof and Gary McKinnon, in order to prevent extradition to the USA to protest and support it with a simultaneous appeal for donations.

Autism expert Simon Baron-Cohen announced in January 2009 that he had diagnosed McKinnon with Asperger's Syndrome . His colleagues Thomas Bernie, Jeremy Turk and Declan Murphy shared this view and warned that extradition would put McKinnon at risk of suicide .

At the end of 2010, in the wake of the publication of cables from US embassies by Wikileaks, it became public that former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown had campaigned for Gary McKinnon.

In early 2012, the Supreme Civil Court raised concerns about the length of the extradition process, which is now ten years.

In March 2012, the US-UK extradition agreement was criticized again and in June, David Burrowes MP called on Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to end the extradition case against Gary McKinnon.

In October 2012, the US judiciary's extradition request was finally dismissed by Interior Secretary Theresa May .



  • Janis Sharp: Saving Gary McKinnon: A Mother's Story. Biteback Publishing, London 2013, ISBN 978-1849545747 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Focus : NASA hackers: Up to 70 years in prison . November 27, 2009, accessed October 18, 2011
  2. Mark Ballard: Expert challenges UFO hacker's $ 700k bill . In: Computer Weekly. September 22, 2009
  3. BBC News : Hacker fears "UFO cover-up" . May 5, 2006, accessed October 18, 2011
  4. Spiegel Online : Breaking into US military computers: British want to extradite UFO hackers . July 7, 2006, accessed October 18, 2011
  5. Focus : Verdict: Hacker threatens extradition to USA . April 3, 2007
  6. heise online : Last respite for the "UFO hacker" . August 13, 2008
  7. European Court of Human Rights: European Court of Human Rights refuses request for interim measures by Gary McKinnon . Press release from August 28, 2008
  8. Der Standard : Human Rights Court: British UFO hacker has to go to US court . August 28, 2008
  9. Spiegel Online : UFO Hacker: McKinnon loses trial against extradition to the USA . July 31, 2009
  10. ^ Sarah Brown's tears for Gary: PM's wife backs Mail campaign to stop extradition of man who hacked Pentagon, accessed March 2, 2012
  11. ^ John Leyden: Pink Floyd's Gilmour backs McKinnon protest gig . In: The Register. March 26, 2009
  12. ITV News : Autism expert backs hacker  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  January 15, 2009
  13. AFP : Psychologist certifies a form of autism to British NASA hacker ( memento from January 24, 2013 in the web archive ). January 15, 2009
  14. YouTube : Simon Baron-Cohen at Press conference . January 18, 2009 (5:53 min)
  15. Ben Borland: President's visit sparks hope for Gary . In: Daily Express . May 1, 2011
  16. US embassy cables: Gordon Brown pleads Gary McKinnon's case . In: The Guardian . November 30, 2010
  17. David Leigh: WikiLeaks cables: US spurned Gary McKinnon plea from Gordon Brown . In: The Guardian . November 30, 2010
  18. Gary McKinnon: NASA hacker case has been going on for ten years ( memento from January 24, 2013 in the web archive )
  19. ^ Judges try to speed up Gary McKinnon extradition case, accessed March 1, 2012
  20. ^ Gary McKinnon Extradition Campaign ( June 6, 2012 memento on the Internet Archive )
  21. Cameron wants review of UK-US extradition rules; Time to fulfill McKinnon pledge and end his decade of suffering, Cameron is told, accessed June 14, 2012
  22. Volker Briegleb: "UFO-Hacker" will not be extradited to the USA. Heise Verlag, October 16, 2012, accessed on February 2, 2016 .
  23. ^ Joshua Rozenberg: Gary McKinnon: Theresa May had no choice but to use human rights grounds. The Guardian, October 16, 2012, accessed February 2, 2016 .