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Alleged hacker faces extradition to U.S.

British man suspected of hacking into 53 U.S. government computers in 2001 and 2002 is facing extradition.

A British man suspected of hacking into 53 U.S. government computers is facing extradition, according to Scotland Yard.

Gary McKinnon, 39, an unemployed man from north London, was arrested Tuesday night, the agency said.

McKinnon, known as "Solo" in the hacking world, was set to appear Wednesday before the Bow Street Magistrates Court on an extradition warrant from the U.S. government, Scotland Yard said.

According to the warrant, McKinnon gained illegal access and made unauthorized modifications to 53 computers belonging to the U.S. government, including computers from the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency, between February 2001 and March 2002.

If extradited and found guilty in the United States, he faces five years in prison for eight crimes he was indicted for in 2002. Among the charges, McKinnon is suspected of stealing administrator identities, deleting 1,300 user accounts and copying a file containing usernames and encrypted passwords.

Dan Ilett of reported from London.