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Gary McKinnon, a 36-year-old British computer administrator, is facing eight federal counts of computer-related crimes after being indicted Tuesday afternoon in Northern Virginia and New Jersey. McKinnon is accused of hacking into 92 U.S. military and NASA networks, including two systems at the Pentagon.
According to U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, McKinnon's charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in a federal prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. officials are still determining whether to seek extradition from England. In the past, the government has shown little interest in bringing foreign hackers who hit American sites to trial in the U.S.
The Virginia indictments claim McKinnon caused $900,000 in damage to computers in 14 states. The Pentagon intrusions temporarily shut down the network that serves the military district for Washington.
The New Jersey indictments allege McKinnon broke into a network at the Earle Naval Weapons Station in Colts Neck, N.J., and stealing almost 1,000 passwords. The action closed the network for a week.