JERUSALEM — An Israeli teenager wanted by the FBI said he breaks into computer systems just for the fun of it.
The youth, who is called the "Analyzer," is wanted in connection with the recent break-in into the Pentagon's computer system and for his involvement in hacking into the computer systems of other educational and military institutions.
He's also suspected of helping two Sonoma County teenagers break into U.S. military and university computers.
"I don't destroy anything in them. What is important to me is just the challenge of breaking into the system," he said in a recent face-to-face interview with the editor of an Israeli online magazine.
These comments came as Israeli media reported that computer hackers had broken into the Web sites of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, and set up links to pornographic sites on the Internet. The two sites were closed to remove the links after surprised Web surfers contacted the Prime Minister's Office.
Gadi Shimshon, news editor at the Israeli Internet site Walla — www.walla.co.il — said that one week ago, prior to Israeli media reports that the youth was suspected of involvement in the Pentagon break-in, he was electronically contacted by someone who arranged for the interview between himself and the 18-year-old hacker.
Shimshon said the "Analyzer," who says he has retired from hacking, sent him some files that he claimed contained entry codes that he implanted into American military computers.
According to Shimshon, the two met face to face for an hour at a McDonald's restaurant near Tel Aviv.
Asked about his relationship to one of the Sonoma County youths questioned by the FBI in connection with the Pentagon break-in, the "Analyzer" said, "He was my student. I knew I was going to get out of this soon.
"Until now, I never taught anyone what I know about hacking. `Mack' did not stop bugging me. He had a real interest and desire to learn."
In his article, Shimshon wrote that the "Analyzer" said he had been hacking into computer systems for the past two years and claimed he could change the contents of more than 1,000 Internet sites.
The teen also said he and some friends set up an "Internet underground" that entered and made changes on a number of sites, including the Knesset's.
He said they also updated the Internet page of Israel's president.
Asked why he had decided to retire from hacking, the "Analyzer" said, "I got sick of it. I had offers from abroad to work on the other side, as someone in charge of security for all sorts of Internet servers. I also had a few offers in Israel."
He added that he would not work for the FBI because "I can't trust the Americans not to decide to prosecute me."
In addition to the FBI, the Israeli computer firm Netvision is investigating the matter.
The Israeli daily Yediot Achronot reported this week that one of the computers the "Analyzer" used to access the various institutions was at a school on Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev. The computer department at the school began looking into the matter when it noticed that someone was logging into its computer from central Israel.