Hacker Gary McKinnon has reinvented himself as an online search expert, after winning a 10-year fight against extradition to the US for breaking into military computers to look for evidence of UFOs.
In a bid to market his talents, Glasgow-born McKinnon has set up a consultancy business, dubbed Small SEO, that pledges to manipulate certain aspects of company websites so that they appear higher in search engine results - a process known as search engine optimisation (SEO).
McKinnon, who markets himself as someone with 20 years IT experience on his firm’s website, is charging £40 an hour for his SEO services.
A number of companies have already signed up to use the services McKinnon is offering through Small SEO. They include London law firm Kaim Todner, tutoring service GMAT Tutor London, Oxfordshire hair salon The Hair Safari, and child safety door stop maker Jamm Products.
The hacker’s extradition to the US was blocked by in October 2012 by home secretary Theresa May.
May said that McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome (a type of autism), should be permitted to stay in the UK on human rights grounds after medical reports indicated he was very likely to try and kill himself if extradited.
In November 2012, McKinnon was informed he would not face any charges in the UK and he could start working with computers again.
Speaking about his new business, McKinnon writes on his website: "My aim is to provide high-quality SEO to small businesses and individuals. All of my clients have so far reached the first page of Google search results for their primary keywords."
If McKinnon was extradited to the US and subsequently found guilty for the charges brought against him, namely causing $800,000 (£471,000) worth of damage to military computer systems, he could have been jailed for 60 years.
According to the BBC, an extradition warrant for McKinnon is still outstanding, which means he can’t travel outside the UK.