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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Facebook Hacker Locked Up

The UK judge has just sent a man to prison for proving that security of the world’s social network Facebook was not up to scratch. So, Glenn Mangham was sentenced for 8 months for hacking Facebook, because the company complained it had to spend $200,000 to fix the flaws the hacker uncovered.

26-year-old guy admitted infiltrating Facebook from his parents’ house in spring 2011. Glenn Mangham told the UK judge he had wanted to find out the vulnerabilities in the Facebook’s system to later alert the company. Moreover, he did the same on Yahoo to demonstrate how it could improve its security.

Facebook complained that Mangham’s actions had risked destroying the whole company, sparking fears among US authorities of industrial espionage. The UK court heard how the guy had unlawfully accessed and hacked into the social network and its servers in April to May last year and had stolen invaluable content that he downloaded on to his external hard drive.

Glenn Mangham, a Sherlock Holmes fan, targeted numerous servers, bypassing the network’s security. He managed to hack into the account of the company staff member and obtained restricted internal information through it when the employee was on holiday. He made a mistake when he tried to delete the traces he had left behind, which led to destroying some information. This was uncovered during a routine security review by Facebook. In a few months, the police knocked on his door, because apparently the United States has rights to deal with hackers in the United Kingdom.

Mangham’s lawyer claimed that his client was an “ethical hacker” who regarded everything as a challenge. Indeed, the defendant hadn’t tried to sell any of the data he managed to obtain or to pass it on to anyone else. Instead, he was going to hand over the data to the company when he could present them with a way of fixing his hack.

Passing sentence, the UK judge told the defendant that the hack wasn’t really harmless and had real and serious consequences, which might have become a disaster for Facebook. However, the sentence was lighter than usual, as Glenn Mangham never intended to profit from the obtained information. It means that the ethical hackers in Britain that carry out such operations will now have to leave messages clearly indicating that they always intended to help the company out rather than damage the data.

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