RealNews

Hackers Get Novel Defense; the Computer Did It

Prosecutors looking to throw the book at accused computer hackers have come across a legal defense expected to become even more widespread in an era of hijacked PCs and laptops that threatens to blur the lines of personal responsibility: the computer did it. In one case that was being watched as a bellwether by computer security experts, Aaron Caffrey, 19, was acquitted earlier this month in the United Kingdom on charges of hacking into the computer system of the Houston Pilots, an independent contractor for the Port of Houston, in September 2001. Caffrey had been charged with breaking into the system and crippling the server that provides scheduling information for all ships entering the world’s sixth-largest port. Although authorities traced the hack back to Caffrey’s computer, he said that someone must have remotely planted a program, called a “trojan,” onto his computer that did the hacking and that could have been programed to self destruct. Full Story

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