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Pakistani Facing Extradition from UK to US Over Hacking

LONDON – A Pakistani student failed Thursday in a High Court bid to avoid extradition from Britain to the United States on computer hacking allegations stemming from an FBI “sting”.

Usman Ahzaz, 24, came to Britain to study for a degree in information systems and computing.

LONDON – A Pakistani student failed Thursday in a High Court bid to avoid extradition from Britain to the United States on computer hacking allegations stemming from an FBI “sting”.

Usman Ahzaz, 24, came to Britain to study for a degree in information systems and computing.

He was arrested at the request of the US authorities which alleged he “surreptitiously controlled” more than 100,000 protected computers — a “botnet” — without the owners’ knowledge after being caught in an FBI “sting” operation.

The court was told that, in 2010, an FBI undercover agent paid Ahzaz $600 (455 euros) to install surreptitiously what he “believed to be malicious” computer code provided by the agent into the compromised computers.

Protected computers include those used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication.

Of the 100,000 computers involved, about 800 were located in the United States.

Home Secretary Theresa May, Britain’s interior minister, ordered Ahzaz’s extradition in May 2012 on allegations relating to the 800 US computers.

If proven, US law says his offence is punishable by imprisonment for more than 12 months.

Ahzaz appealed to the High Court but his appeal was dismissed. Judge Peter Gross, England’s senior presiding judge, said the extradition request was focused on “an attempt rather than the causing of actual damage”.

Written By

AFP 2023

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