British student jailed for hacking into Facebook

After hacking into Facebook, Glenn Steven Mangham has been jailed for eight months. The attack cost the company $200,000, and resulted in an investigation by the FBI and British law enforcement.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

26-year-old Glenn Steven Mangham, a student in the UK, has been sentenced to eight months in prison for hacking into Facebook from his bedroom at his parents' house. Facebook said it spent $200,000 in dealing with his actions, which triggered a time-consuming and costly investigation by authorities. At first, Menlo Park thought it was dealing with major industrial espionage and contacted the FBI and British law enforcement. Sentencing Mangham, Judge Alistair McCreath said his actions had "real consequences and very serious potential consequences" which could have been "utterly disastrous" for Facebook.

"He acted with determination, undoubted ingenuity and it was sophisticated, it was calculating," prosecutor Sandip Patel told a London court, according to CBS News. He also said Mangham stole "invaluable" intellectual property and that the attack "represents the most extensive and grave incident of social media hacking to be brought before the British courts."

Mangham admitted to the crime and pleaded guilty to breaching the social network's security systems between April 27 and May 9 of last year. He was arrested on June 2 and released from prison on bail after spending two months behind bars. Four conditions were attached to his bail, including that he live and sleep at his home address, not access the Internet, and not have any devices in the house that can access the Web.

Mangham had previously shown Yahoo how to improve its security and wanted to do the same for Facebook. The social networking giant discovered the infiltration during a system check. Mangham used various programs to get past Facebook's defenses, and faced five charges for repeatedly trying to penetrate the defenses of the social network under the Computer Misuse Act 1990. More specifically, Mangham was accused of downloading a computer program to secure unauthorized access to Facebook, of attempting to hack into Facebook's Mailman server, of using PHP script to secure access to Facebook's Phabricator server, of sharing a PHP script intended to hack into that server, and of securing repeated access to another Facebook server.

Facebook runs a Puzzle server to allow computer programmers to test their skills. A Mailman server is typically used by firms to run internal and external email distribution lists. The Phabricator is a set of tools designed by the company to make it easier to build Facebook apps.

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