Feeds

Brit student locked up for Facebook source code hack

Unfriended, unliked, unfree

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A British computer science student was jailed for eight months on Friday for hacking into the internal network at Facebook.

Glenn Mangham, 26, previously pleaded guilty to hacking into the social networking site between April and May last year. The incident created a flap at Facebook amid fears that hackers were attempting to extract the software blueprints of the website.

Mangham slurped Facebook's source code, hoping to work on it at some later date for the web behemoth. The prosecution accepted that Mangham's actions were not maliciously intended but said they were unauthorised. The student attempted to hide his tracks, a factor that was taken by the court as evidence that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

The intrusion was detected by Facebook and reported to the FBI, which passed the case over to the British police. They traced the hack back to Mangham's parents' house in York, leading to a raid last June and the subsequent prosecution of the undergraduate geek. Mangham claimed he had been motivated by a desire to help Facebook improve its security, something he had previously done with Yahoo!

The prosecution disputed this interpretation of events, arguing Mangham's actions were clearly malign. "He acted with determination and undoubted ingenuity and it was sophisticated, it was calculating," prosecuting counsel Sandip Patel told London's Southwark Crown Court. "This represents the most extensive and grave incident of social media hacking to be brought before the British courts."

In sentencing, Judge Alistair McCreath told Mangham his actions were anything but far from harmless and had "real consequences and very serious potential consequences" for Facebook, the BBC reports.

"You and others who are tempted to act as you did really must understand how serious this is," the judge said. "The creation of that risk, the extent of that risk and the cost of putting it right mean at the end of it all I'm afraid a prison sentence is inevitable."

Facebook stressed that no user data was involved in the breach, which cost the social network an estimated $200,000 in investigation costs and other expenses.

"We applaud the efforts of the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service in this case, which did not involve any compromise of personal user data," the social network said in a statement. "We take any attempt to gain unauthorised access to our network very seriously, and we work closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure that offenders are brought to justice." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.