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A few months after the World Trade Center attacks, a strange message appeared on a U.S. Army computer: "Your security system is crap," it read. "I am Solo. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels."

Solo scanned thousands of U.S. government machines and discovered glaring security flaws in many of them. Between February 2001 and March 2002, Solo broke into almost a hundred PCs within the Army, Navy, Air Force, NASA, and the Department of Defense. He surfed around for months, copying files and passwords. At one point he brought down the U.S. Army's entire Washington, D.C., network, taking about 2000 computers out of service for three days. U.S. attorney Paul McNulty called his campaign "the biggest military computer hack of all time."

But despite his expertise, Solo didn't cover his tracks. He was soon traced to a small apartment in London. In March 2002, the United Kingdom's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit arrested Gary McKinnon , a quiet 36-year-old Scot with elfin features and Spock-like upswept eyebrows. He'd been a systems administrator, but he didn't have a job at the time of his arrest; he spent his days indulging his obsession with UFOs.

In fact, McKinnon claimed that UFOs were the reason for his hack. Convinced that the government was hiding alien antigravity devices and advanced energy technologies, he planned to find and release the information for the benefit of humanity. He said his intrusion was detected just as he was downloading a photo from NASA's Johnson Space Center of what he believed to be a UFO.

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