Feeds

Freed Facebook hack Brit vents fury at $200k cleanup claim

Mangham longs for security job after sentence halved on appeal

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A UK man jailed for hacking into Facebook has vowed to rebuild his life – and his reputation – after winning an appeal against his sentence.

Glen Steven Mangham, 26, from Acomb, near York, was jailed for eight months in February after he pleaded guilty to infiltrating the website's internal network between April and May last year.

Mangham's sentence was halved to four months in April after senior judges at London’s Court of Appeal ruled he had been treated unduly harshly by the trial judge at Southwark Crown Court. The decision made Mangham eligible for immediate release on the basis of time served, although he is still obliged to wear a tag.

The computer science student extracted Facebook's source code without permission in hope of pointing out security flaws in the web giant's blueprints. The intrusion was detected by Facebook and reported to the FBI, which passed the case over to British cops after the penetration was traced to the UK.

Blighty's detectives further tracked the hack to Mangham's parents' house in York, leading to his arrest and subsequent prosecution. Mangham admitted three counts of unauthorised access to computers and unauthorised modification of computer data, contrary to the UK's anti-hacking laws.

The undergraduate claimed throughout that his actions were motivated by a desire to help Facebook improve its security, something he had previously done with Yahoo! The prosecution rejected this rationale and pressed for harsh punishment as a deterrent.

Facebook stressed that no user data had been involved in the breach. During Mangham's trial, representatives of the social networking firm said that the hack had resulted in investigation costs and other expenses that ran up to in $200,000 – which Mangham disputes.

In sentencing, trial judge Alistair McCreath sided with the prosecution and imposed an eight-month sentence on Mangham.

'Super Asbo' sentencing

However at the start of April, Mr Justice Cranston, sitting with Lord Justice Hooper and Judge Peter Rook QC at the Court of Appeal, said that Mr McCreath had erred in not giving enough weight to mitigating factors in the case, such as the lack of any attempt to Mangham to profit from his crime.

“He [the trial judge] rightly highlighted the persistence, sophistication and deliberation with which Mangham mounted his attack," Mr Justice Cranston said, the York Press reports.

“The judge was entitled to conclude that his motive was not to inform Facebook of the defects in the system, but to prove that he could beat the system.

“In our view, the combination of the aggravating factors and mitigating factors is such that the more appropriate starting point, in our view, would have been six months, reduced to four months given the appellant’s plea. In particular, we would underline the point which the judge mentioned that the information had not been passed on to anyone and there was no financial gain involved.”

Peter Minnikin, of Harrogate firm McCormicks Solicitors, Mangham's defence lawyers, said two grounds on which Mangham petitioned for appeal were granted.

Firstly, Mangham's defence team successfully argued that the original sentence was "manifestly excessive" and the trial judge had failed to apply consideration over whether a suspended sentence or community order might be appropriate.

Secondly, Mangham's previous good character was not factored into the original sentence he received, the solicitor continued.

Appeal judges also agreed that the "serious crime prevention order" applied by the trial judge against Mangham was unreasonable because his misdeeds were not serious enough to deserve a "super Asbo".

The latter decision means that Mangham is once again free to go online and also clear to express his opinions about the case, Minnikin explained.

Mangham wasted little time following his return online to post a lengthy criticism of Facebook's handling of his case and to tell his side of the story. The full 3,700-plus word essay is here but Mangham summarised his main gripes in this email exchange with The Reg.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.