British student tried to hack Facebook

Summary: Glenn Steven Mangham repeatedly tried to hack into Facebook. He has been banned from going on the Internet until further notice.


25-year-old Glenn Steven Mangham, a student in the UK, appeared in court over accusations of trying to hack into Facebook. He allegedly attempted to use various programs to get past Facebook’s defenses, faces five charges for repeatedly trying to penetrate the defenses of the social network under the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and has been banned from going on the Internet in general, until he reappears at court for a committal hearing next month.

Mangham reportedly attempted to access multiple Facebook servers, but failed on every count. “While no user data was compromised, we have been working with Scotland Yard and the FBI as we take any attempt to hack our internal systems extremely seriously,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

“The court feels it will be safer if there was no access to the internet which will reduce the temptation for your son to go on to Facebook,” said Judge Nicholas Evans, according to The Telegraph. “This is what can be described as a hacking case,” Prosecutor Matthew McCabe told the court. “This involved considerable technical expertise to penetrate the security programmes of Facebook.”

The five counts include three charges for unauthorized access to a computer program or data, and two counts of committing unauthorized acts with intent to impair operation of, or prevent or hinder access to, a computer. More specifically, Mangham is 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.

The UK-based hacker tried to gain access to Facebook between April 27 and May 9. He was then arrested on June 2 and released from prison on conditional bail just yesterday, meaning he spent over two months behind bars.

Police seized a number of computers from Mangham’s when they raided his house. Although he was bailed at City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Judge Evans imposed four conditions 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.

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