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York CompSci student pleads guilty to Facebook hack

Social network wet pants in fear of industrial espionage

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A computer enthusiast from York has admitted hacking into Facebook.

Glenn Mangham, 26, pleaded guilty to hacking into the social networking site between April and May this year at a hearing in London's Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday. The court heard that the incident sparked a major security alert amid fears that some form of industrial espionage was involved, the BBC reports.

Mangham, a computer science student, had previously advised Yahoo! on how to improve the security of its website. Although his subsequent actions against Facebook were not maliciously motivated they were unauthorised and resulted in the extraction of what prosecutor Sandip Patel described as "highly sensitive intellectual property". Mangham had downloaded and stored code he wanted to work with offline.

Although Mangham attempted to delete his tracks he was tracked down and arrested, after which he freely admitted his actions, violations of the UK's Computer Misuse Act. Evidence of the hack was discovered during a routine security check.

In a statement, Facebook explained its decision to file a criminal complaint, adding that the "attack did not involve an attempt to compromise or access user data".

At Facebook nothing is more important to us than the security and integrity of our site, and we take any attempt to compromise our security network incredibly seriously. We work closely with law enforcement agencies and the police to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.

This attack did not involve an attempt to compromise or access user data.

A sentencing hearing against Mangham has been set for 17 February. ®

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