Gary McKinnon Busted Because he Forgot the Time Difference

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It turns out Gary McKinnon got sloppy, that’s why he got busted. He forgot the computers he was comprimising were in a completely different time zone, and as he was using remote control software, the person in the office saw their mouse moving around. We have reported about this guy before, when he was fearing being exported and chucked in Guantanamo.

A British computer hacker facing extradition for breaking into United States military computers said today that computer administrators fail to take easy steps that deter unwanted intrusions.

Gary McKinnon, who spoke on a panel at Infosec Europe 2006 here, made a critical miscalculation when poking around one of his targets that started an international investigation.

“I got caught because I was using a graphical remote control tool, and I forgot what time zone I was in,” McKinnon said. “Somebody was in the office when I was moving the mouse around.”

McKinnon’s probes occurred when computers were left on but employees were gone. Simply shutting down computers at night reduces the risk, he said.

Sloppy mistake though.

He makes some good points in the interview too, weak passwords generally are the weakest link, it’s quite common to find blank admin passwords and the C$ still enabled giving you full access to a Windows machine. Users really are the weakest link.

Passwords are a consistent weak point. McKinnon was able to hack a few unguarded passwords that gave him access; stronger passwords are recommended, he said. Misconfiguration by administrators made it easier, as some password protection was simply not enabled, he said.

Source: Yahoo News

Posted in: Legal Issues

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One Response to Gary McKinnon Busted Because he Forgot the Time Difference

  1. Sandeep Nain August 9, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Its funny, and it does happen very often that while concentrating on bigger things we tend to forget very small stuff.
    I’m sure he removed (or had plans) to remove his footprints…