The youth, who lives in Uppsala, north of Stockholm, is also being investigated by American police, on suspicion of hacking into systems belonging to the US military, NASA and computer giant Cisco.
Uppsala prosecutor Malin Rudström said the youngster was “very knowledgeable about computers”. He is charged with hacking systems at the universities of Uppsala, Umeå, Stockholm and Linköping, among others.
“He has been sitting at home in his bedroom in Uppsala and unlawfully accessing these computer systems,” said Rudström.
“He has not gained any money and we don’t yet know whether any of the universities have suffered financial loss,” she said.
The young man is believed by prosecutors to not only have accessed the systems, but also to have changed pieces of software and tampered with certain files. He has admitted accessing a system on one occasion. He says that on other occasions he was acting in conjunction with others, but he has refused to name his alleged accomplices.
The hacking was first discovered in spring 2004 by security experts at some of the universities. Police eventually traced the activity to the boy, who was 16 at the time.
“The unauthorised access was on a large scale,” Rudström said.
The young man’s alleged hacking into systems at American companies and governmental agencies is being handled by authorities in the United States.
“American police are investigating themselves, and I don’t know how far they have got,” Rudström said.