UK extradites suspected hacker to US

Gary McKinnon, accused of breaking into military and NASA computers in what he claims was a search for UFOs, allegedly causing nearly €642,000 (US$1 million) in damage, has lost his appeal against extradition to the US.

An Associated Press report further said McKinnon, 42, an unemployed computer administrator, allegedly broke into 97 computers belonging to the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Defense from a bedroom in a north London home.

His attacks between 2001 and 2002 allegedly shut down the Army district responsible for protecting Washington, and cleared logs from computers at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey that tracks the location and battle-readiness of Navy ships, the report said.

That last attack, coming immediately after the September 11, knocked out the station's entire network of 300 computers. NASA and privately owned computers also were damaged, prosecutors said, putting the total cost of his online activities at €58,000 (US$900,000).

At the time of his indictment, prosecutor Paul McNulty said McKinnon pulled off 'the biggest hack of military computers ever _ at least ever detected.'

In his defense, McKinnon, known online as SOLO, said he was trying to expose security weaknesses and uncover evidence of UFOs.

In interviews, he claimed that his hacking uncovered photographic proof of alien spacecraft and the names and ranks of 'non-terrestrial officers.'

Prosecutors accuse him of deliberately trying to intimidate the US government by tearing through their networks. They pointed to a note written by McKinnon _ and left on an Army computer _ attacking US foreign policy as 'akin to government-sponsored terrorism.'