'Computer genius' jailed for hacking Pentagon

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A Californian man was sentenced to four months in prison for hacking into the computer systems of federal agencies and defacing websites in April 2002.

21-year-old Robert Lyttle, who was known as half of "The Deceptive Duo," unlawfully accessed computer systems of various federal agencies in April 2002, including the Department of Defense's Defense Logistic Information Service (DLIS) and Office of Health Affairs (OHA) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's (NASA) Ames Research Center (ARC).

Speaking in court, Tony Serra, Lyttle's attorney said the defendant was a "computer genius" who misguidedly believed he was helping the government by exposing vulnerabilities in its systems. The prosecutor likened Lyttle to a burglar breaking into a home.

U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen handed down the sentence following a guilty plea on five counts of unauthorized access to government computers. As well as the four month prison sentence, Lyttle will also have to spend a further four months electronically tagged in home confinement and pay $71,181 in restitution. He will also undergo a three year period of supervised release. The defendant will begin serving his sentence on August 24, 2005.

Last week, Spanish police arrested a 26-year-old engineer in connection with hacking security mechanisms in software applications. The arrest in Galicia followed a nine-month investigation by the Brigada de Investigacion Tecnologica de la policia nacional (BIT).

www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/

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