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   Judge Harris accepted the revised damage estimate.

  

   The prosecution may have lost ground on the damage bill, but it wasn't

   giving up the fight. These two hackers, James Richardson told the

   court and journalists during the two-day sentencing hearing, had

   hacked into some 10000 computer systems around the world. They were

   inside machines or networks in at least fifteen countries. Russia.

   India. France. Norway. Germany. The US. Canada. Belgium. Sweden.

   Italy. Taiwan. Singapore. Iceland. Australia. Officers on the case

   said the list of the hackers' targets `read like an atlas', Richardson

   told the court.

  

   Pad listened to the list. It sounded about right. What didn't sound

   right were the allegations that he or Gandalf had crashed Sweden's

   telephone network by running an X.25 scanner over its packet network.

   The crash had forced a Swedish government minister to apologise on

   television. The police said the minister did not identify the true

   cause of the problem--the British hackers--in his public apology.

  

   Pad had no idea what they were talking about. He hadn't done anything

   like that to the Swedish phone system, and as far as he knew, neither

   had Gandalf.

  

   Something else didn't sound right. Richardson told the court that in

   total, the two hackers had racked up at least [sterling]25000 in phone

   bills for unsuspecting legitimate customers, and caused `damage' to

   systems which was very conservatively estimated at almost

   [sterling]123000.

  

   Where were these guys getting these numbers from? Pad marvelled at

   their cheek. He had been through the evidence with a fine-toothed

   comb, yet he had not seen one single bill showing what a site had

   actually paid to repair `damage' caused by the hackers. The figures

   tossed around by the police and the prosecution weren't real bills;

   they weren't cast in iron.

  

   Finally, on Friday 21 May, after all the evidence had been presented,

   the judge adjourned the court to consider sentencing. When he returned

   to the bench fifteen minutes later, Pad knew what was going to happen

   from the judge's face. To the hacker, the expression said: I am going

   to give you everything that Wandii should have got.

  

   Judge Harris echoed The Times's sentiments when he told the two

   defendants, `If your passion had been cars rather than computers, we

   would have called your conduct delinquent, and I don't shrink from the

   analogy of describing what you were doing as intellectual joyriding.

  

   `Hacking is not harmless. Computers now form a central role in our

   lives. Some, providing emergency services, depend on their computers

   to deliver those services.'13

  

   Hackers needed to be given a clear signal that computer crime `will

   not and cannot be tolerated', the judge said, adding that he had

   thought long and hard before handing down sentence. He accepted that

   neither hacker had intended to cause damage, but it was imperative to

   protect society's computer systems and he would be failing in his

   public duty if he didn't sentence the two hackers to a prison term of

   six months.

  

   Judge Harris told the hackers that he had chosen a custodial sentence,