back to article Leicestershire teen admits attempting to hack director of the CIA

A teenager from Leicestershire, England, has admitted to trying to hack US government officials including the director of the CIA and Obama's Director of National Intelligence. Kane Gamble, 18, pleaded guilty on Friday to 10 charges at Leicester crown court. Other targets included Avril Haines, Barack Obama’s deputy national …

  1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  2. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Bail

    The 18-year-old has been released on unconditional bail, and still has access to computers.

    I bet he's glad he was tried here rather than the US.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

    If that was possible then isn't the CIA security at fault? If it's not possible then why the charge?

    If I say "abracadabra the US 6th fleet to turn into frogs" is that an attempted act of terrorism?

    1. noem
      Joke

      Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

      Oh wow! you have a function like this: codeIsSecureFromAllThreats(program):bool

      that takes an arbitrary program as an argument. While you're at it could you also provide me with:

      doesHalt(program):bool

      that would be much appreciated :)

      While the point is that everyone should take basic security measures, neither of the above functions exist so guarding against all threats remains an exceptional feat. Equally true is: just because you can, does not mean you should. Secondly, your analogy suffers from the same problem that most analogies do, it is bad. If ineptitude excused a person's legal obligations, I'm almost certain that many legal representatives would urge the courts that their clients could not possibly have a guilty verdict rendered upon them, on the grounds that they were in some way stupid, like analogies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

        @noem

        If legality had anything to do with anything, the American colonies would still be under British rule.

        If it wasn't for them terrorists...

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

      "If I say "abracadabra the US 6th fleet to turn into frogs" is that an attempted act of terrorism?"

      Pay no attention to those men dressed as undertakers waiting in a hearse round the corner from your house.

      1. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

        "Pay no attention to those men dressed as undertakers waiting in a hearse round the corner from your house."

        "Arrived today, made very welcome..."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

      If I say "abracadabra the US 6th fleet to turn into frogs" is that an attempted act of terrorism?

      And if I answer, is that "supplying information likely to be of use to a terrorist"?

      Rest assured, the government is undoubtedly mad, but that means they can expect to successfully plead "corporate insanity".

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

        Rest assured, the government is undoubtedly mad as a box of frogs so maybe the spell worked.

    4. Chemical Bob

      Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

      "isn't the CIA security at fault"

      You obviously don't know what the C, I and A stand for. It's the Complete Idiot Agency, they exist to draw the public's attention away from the NSA.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

        You obviously don't know what the C, I and A stand for

        There is a company based in the south of England called "Christie Intruder Alarms". The alarm boxes they put on buildings are badged "CIA"

        https://ciaalarms.co.uk/about-us/our-history

      2. Alumoi

        Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

        You obviously don't know what the C, I and A stand for.

        Everybody knows USians can't spell so it's obvious CIA stands for Cover Your Ass.

    5. Nehmo

      Re: causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security

      It sounds like the pertinent statute is the Computer Misuse one https://goo.gl/BkynJt . I don't think your argument will fly. In the US, indeed, if the act is impossible, then the person can't be charged with attempting to do it. The textbook example is that a eunuch can't be charged with attempted rape. But in this case (which is in the UK, of course), "causing risk" is the pivotal phrase.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No sympathy this time

    Gamble's barrister, William Harbage QC, said his client is "on the autistic spectrum".

    And? I know and am related to a fair few people with official ASD labels. Seems to me that they do know right from wrong (if anything, seeing it in far more B&W terms than people without ASD). So given that the vast majority of people with ASD didn't try and hack US state computer systems, it doesn't sound much of an excuse. Back in the day of McKinnon, I'd agree with the defence that "the door seemed open, I just pushed it gently", but we're now past that. We all know the Feds don't like being hacked (much as they deserve it), and that they'll go after white collar amateur hackers with a vengeance. Maybe Mr Harbage should have told the court "My client is a dick, but he's really, really sorry, and won't do it again".

  5. deive

    CIA can't protect themselves from skiddies, wonder how the are handling actual threats?!?!?

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Key word here is *attempting*, they caught him and we certainly know of others they have too. So I don't think they're actually having any trouble in the protection or deterrence department.

    2. adnim Silver badge

      The real threats

      go unnoticed for months maybe years and are never reported. Why? because they went unnoticed for months maybe years.

      On another note:

      Only skiddies attempt to hack from a location that can be traced back to them.

      Running anothers' code is never hard, understanding what it does and what trails it leaves isn't so hard either... Unless one is a skiddie.

  6. Alister Silver badge

    So when's the extradition?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      followed by the obligatory handwringing by UK (Conservative) government saying there is nothing they can do as it is all in the UK-US extradition treaty and we must honour our treaty obligations, whilst at the same time happily renege on all the treaties the UK government signed with the EEC/EU...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems unfair tbh

    CIA believes it has a right to hack anyone else on the planet. How come turnabout isn't fair play? Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Seems unfair tbh

      The answer lies in your last sentence: "Live by the sword, die by the sword." The CIA doesn't want to die so they strike hard and fast.

  8. rkscott2

    RSVP

    LA 2018 Defcon invite ?

  9. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "Gamble's barrister, William Harbage QC, said his client is "on the autistic spectrum". "

    Aren't you supposed to wait until the Americans ask for him to be extradited before playing the Asperger's Card?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      Why wait? Play that card early and see if it deflects the US. It doesn't normally but doing it early and setting the stage might just work... to some extent.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why crown court?

    He was pleading guilty so the only reason is the extended sentencing powers but I think it would be extremely harsh to send him to prison.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Cases that get tried in Magistrate courts can be transferred to Crown courts for sentencing. Crown courts have more leeway on the sentence they can pass so a Crown court my give a suspended sentence where as the Magistrate court would not have that option.

    2. lozhurst

      He entered his plea at crown court so it's probably because one or more of the offences were indictable (can only be tried at crown court). Only offences which are summary only or triable either way can be heard at magistrates court.

      Had it been just for sentencing, the plea would have been heard at magistrates court and the case "referred to crown court for sentencing". That's not what the article says happened, so that means it was not taken to crown court just for sentencing.

      Edit: Just looked it up - "causing risk of serious damage to human welfare/national security" is section 3ZA of Computer Misuse Act 1990, which was added by Serious Crime Act 2015, and is indictable only, therefore cannot be heard at a magistrates court, hence straight to crown court for plea hearing.

  11. earl grey Silver badge
    FAIL

    on the autistic spectrum

    OMFG - aren't we all? I have stress in my life. My shorts were too tight. I can't afford to live in high style. The sun was in my eyes.

    Do we have to put a written warning on every computer to not do stupid stuff now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: on the autistic spectrum

      Oh another "I'm not xxx so I can throw stones at those who are" post.

      When eugenics becomes a thing, I'm sure the elimination of autism people will be one of the (many) "improvements". If only to save the CIA from attacks by the low hanging fruit.

      Not sure you'll be quite so keen to be counted amongst their ranks then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: on the autistic spectrum

        "When eugenics becomes a thing,"

        ORLY

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: on the autistic spectrum

          Re: "ORLY"

          "Eugenics - the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics)".

          What do you think is the real purpose of mapping the human genome then? Or is it just an interesting science project? Or are you just unable to stop yourself from being sarcastic?

          Some day society will accept it in the same way as today, government mandated vaccinations are seen as "the right thing to do". To coin a Star Trek phrase - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: on the autistic spectrum

        Apparently, autism spectrum people are disproportionately present in research positions.

        Therefore, it can be said..

        Autism causes Vaccines.

        (originally saw this in a webcomic someplace, cant remember the name)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We'll stop calling it Autistic Spectrum. In hacking cases we'll call it Kaspersky Spectrum.

  13. Archtech Silver badge

    Silly boy

    Doesn't he know that the CIA hacks you, not vice versa?

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Just to clarify, which CIA are we talking about here?

  15. I&I

    Everyone is "on the autistic spectrum"

    Ciao

  16. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Remember back when "sense of proportion" was a thing?

    Kid would do something stupid, cops/parents/random bystanders would kick his arse, everyone would move on, either lessons learnt or exercise to be repeated.

    These days it seems no one can interfere with little timmies "Self Actualization" until he crosses boundaries he never learnt to respect, and the full weight and accompanying cost of the legal industry grinds into action, followed by baying media circus and several other tortured metaphors.

    or

    Smack your kids, its good for them.

    1. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: Remember back when "sense of proportion" was a thing?

      You seem a mighty big man Jim wanting to smack kids.

      How about we review your life history and for everything we deem wrong we get to punch you.

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Remember back when "sense of proportion" was a thing?

        "How about we review your life history and for everything we deem wrong we get to punch you."

        I assume you don't have kids, seeing as you think "smack" means the same thing as "punch". I have two children (14 and 19) and although I have on occasion smacked them, I have never punched them. And before you say it's the same thing...it isn't.

      2. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Devil

        I really dont like replying into my own posts

        but..

        this is exactly what I meant about sense of proportion.

        Instead of a response appropriate to the situation, its straight to DEFCON 5, crucifixions all round, midnight renditions and spitttle all over the keyboard.

        As for reviewing my life history, I am old enough that when I WAS young, physical punishment was one of the consequences of excessive stupidity. Most of the voices in my head tell me I'm sane, even if some of them are compulsive liars...

  17. DuchessofDukeStreet

    So given the high profile extradition battles for other alleged hackers of US government systems, how come this one is being tried in a local Crown Court?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has he got the plane ticket yet?

    Best to pack light, orange jump suits are normally provided at the resort destination.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's secret

    If I were the CIA I wouldn't let anyone know I'd been hacked, successfully or not. I would make sure I had really good defences and I'd reward anyone who found a chink in my armour with a job.

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