RealNews

Leniency may encourage more hackers

A UK-based hacker found guilty of breaching the systems of a US government web site was given a community service sentence rather than a fine or imprisonment this month, leading experts to warn that such light penalties could encourage more hacking. Nineteen-year-old student Joseph James McElroy pleaded guilty to the charge of hacking into the US Department of Energy’s nuclear research site, Fermilab. However, despite Fermilab seeking £21,000 in compensation to cover the costs of repairing the breached system, the judge at Southwark Crown Court did not fine McElroy but imposed a sentence of 200 hours of community service. McElroy claimed he carried out the offence to use Fermilab’s network bandwidth to store copyrighted film and music files. As the motive was not to cause harm and no classified data was accessed, the judge said imprisonment would not be inappropriate. Full Story

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