British Facebook hacker sentenced to eight months

Nathan Pensky · February 17, 2012 · Short URL:

Authorities send a clear message to hackers: breach security and pay the price

Last April, a 26-year-old British student Glenn Mangham hacked Facebook's internal network from his bedroom at his parents house in Northern England, leading to a raid by Scotland Yard's e-crime's unit on June 2. Friday, Mangham was sentenced to eight months in prison, sending a clear message to others who would compromise the security of such online giants as Facebook.

Mangham accessed Facebook's network by hacking into an employee's personal account while the employee was on vacation.

Mangham's representatives claimed he had good intention in hacking Facebook. Having previously helped search engine Yahoo improve its security, Mangham's defense attorney Tony Ventham said he wanted to do the same for Facebook. While Mangham pled guilty on December 13 to the charges against him, his lawyer noted that he had not tried to seel the stolen information.

"This is someone who in previous times would have thrown everything aside to seek the source of the Nile," Ventham said, as reported by Associated Press. "He was in his own world, his own bedroom, his own mind, his own project and certainly his intention throughout was to contact Facebook in due course when he had rectified their problems."

However, the judge presiding over Mangham's case. Judge Alistair McCreath, didn't see it that way.

"This was not just a bit of harmless experimentation," McCreath told Mangham. "You accessed the very heart of the system of an international business of massive size, so this was not just fiddling about in the business records of some tiny business of no great importance."

London prosecutor Sandip Patel, likewise, had a harsher estimation of Mangham's misdeeds. "He acted with determination, undoubted ingenuity and it was sophisticated, it was calculating," Patel told London's Southwark Crown Court ahead of sentencing Friday, as reported by AP. "This represents the most extensive and grave incident of social media hacking to be brought before the British courts."

Facebook indicated approval of police and prosecutors' efforts in the case, saying to AP, "we take any attempt to gain unauthorized access to our network very seriously."

[Image Credit: Telegraph UK]

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