Tag Archives: Gary Mckinnon

Edinburgh Napier to launch “ethical hacking” course

By Hollie Hanlan and Kirsty Topping

November 27, 2009

Universities across Scotland are to teach students how to circumvent the world’s most secure computer systems.

Abertay University in Dundee  has already launched its Ethical Hacking and Computer Security course and Edinburgh Napier is set to follow suit with a course called Advanced Security and Digital Forensics. Tutors on the course aim to teach students how to outsmart malicious hackers in a bid to protect businesses and the Government from cyber attacks.

The move comes as Gary McKinnon’s appeal against extradition to the US was blocked by the home secretary. The Glasgow-born 43-year-old, who suffers Asperger’s Syndrome, is accused of breaking into military computer systems but claims he was looking for evidence of UFOs. If convicted, he faces up to 60 years in an American prison.

Professor William Buchanan of Edinburgh Napier University will be leading the new course, which begins in January of next year.

He said: “Our course is slightly different. We never use the term hacker in any of our teaching because we think the term hacker already implies guilt – we tend to call someone like that an intruder”.

He is keen to stress the distinction between what the course entails and malicious hacking.

He added: “Half of the course involves security, which is all about defending against the loss of data and abuse. The other half of it is to do with digital forensics, which is the science of trying to analyse digital data”.

For example, often criminal cases involve digital evidence such as mobile phone tracking and recovering information from computer hard drives. Experts in digital forensics often work with the police to solve criminal cases.

It is hoped that the course, which looks at the seedy world of internet crime, will save the economy billions of pounds every year and help improve security within computer networks.

Professor Buchanan also expressed sympathy for Mr McKinnon when Edinburgh Napier News spoke to him earlier today.

Glasgow hacker loses chance for appeal.

Hacker Gary McKinnon has failed to get permission to appeal to the UK supreme court over his extradition to the US.

Lord Justice Stanley Burnton and Mr Justice Wilkie of the High court judged that the case was of not enough importance to be put forward to the UK Supreme Court, and that the call for extradition was an appropriate response of the American Government considering the alleged offence.

Accused of hacking into US military sites, the US have been trying to extradite Mr Mckinnon, 43, for the last four years, despite knowing about it for seven years.

Mr Mckinnon a sufferer of Aspergers syndrome, a form, of autism has maintained the fact that he only hacked into US government files so he could find evidence of UFO’S and alien technology.

The US government however claims that Mr Mckinnon hacked into 97 computer and created $800,000 (£487,000) worth of damage to American equipment.

They also claim that he changed erased important information at a US naval air station following the attacks on New York at 9/11.

The ruling by the High court comes after the Home Offices decision in July that Mr Mckinnon should be extradited to America, Alan Johnson, Home secretary, stated that:

“It would be illegal for me to stop the extradition of Gary McKinnon, which the court ruling has made clear.

Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes and the US has a lawful right to seek his extradition, as we do when we wish to prosecute people who break our laws.”

The decision has sparked anger from autistic charities and civil rights groups that believe that extraditing someone suffering from a mental health problem is wrong.

Liberty the human civil rights group condemned the decision, stating : “Today’s court decision demonstrates the disgrace that is Britain’s extradition arrangements that allow vulnerable people to be shipped off around the world when they should be tried here at home.”

His Mother Janis Sharp who has been campaigning against his extradition spoke out after the ruling was made outside the High Court in London, she said:

“To use my desperately vulnerable son in this way is despicable, immoral and devoid of humanity.”

“I’ve fought for five years to protect my son and I am not about to give up now. I will stop this if it’s the last thing I do. I will not stay by and watch Gary be destroyed.”