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- Dubai 04:50 06:04 12:14 15:39 18:19 19:33
A former IT director allegedly cost an Arizona school district more than $1 million (Dh3.67m) by rigging its computers to search for intelligent space aliens.
Bradley Niesluchowski, 38, of Mesa, Arizona, resigned from the Higley Unified School District in October, a few days after school officials accused him of a long list of policy violations, UPI.com said, quoting a report in The Arizona Republic newspaper on Tuesday.
The alleged violations included installing Boinc software, developed at the University of California to allow amateurs to help with the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence – a project intended to detect signals from alternate life forms other than humans.
In addition to downloading the software onto thousands of school computers, Niesluchowski allegedly rigged the computers to run all the time.
The Seti program, running full time, may have run up $1m in utility bills, said officials, adding that one server now appears to be missing. It is named Server 51 – even though there are only 50 servers in the district's network – possibly in tribute to Area 51, the military base near Nevada that is often said to be a top-secret site for alien research.
Niesluchowski could face charges that include computer tampering and spending school funds for personal projects.
According to the Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence website, Niesluchowski is a hero in the alien-seeking world. His screen name Nez showed that he was the most active alien seeker.
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