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Harry Potter and the Horrible Hacker

Harry Potter, the bespectacled boy-wizard adored by millions worldwide, has faced down many challenges in his book adventures--giant basilisks, Death Eaters, rival classmates and, of course, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. But poor Harry may have met his match in the form of a hacker named 'Gabriel.' This clear candidate for Slytherin House claims to have broke into a computer at London-based Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. and obtained a digital copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final book in the series. Worse, 'Gabriel' has posted some of the contents, including the ending, which is guaranteed to shake Hogwarts to its foundations.

Once Harry's adventures became a cultural phenomenon, 'muggles' everywhere have tried all sorts of tricks to get their hands on the books--or parts of them--before they're officially released. Although most are just desperate for a "Potter fix," some of these folks have been out to either make a buck or, worse, maliciously spoil things for the rest of the fans. 'Gabriel' seems to fall into the latter category. According to Reuters, The hacker claims on his/her Web site that the reason for posting the book snippets was to "make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring."

While Bloomsbury and U.S. distributor Scholastic Corp. spokespeople are quick to discount Gabriel's claims, they won't say absolutely if the material posted is the real deal.

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