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British Student Jailed For Eight Months After Facebook Hack

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Glenn Mangham imprisoned despite claiming he just wanted to help Facebook by pointing out vulnerabilities

A 26 year old student from York who hacked into Facebook has been sentenced to eight months in prison, following what a court called the most serious social media hacking case in the UK to date.

Glenn Mangham, who studied software development, had stolen internal data from one of Facebook’s employees “to point out vulnerabilities” in April last year.

The Bad Samaritan

After the FBI figured out the hacker was in the UK, the case was referred to the Metropolitan Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), which raided Mangham’s York home in June 2011.

In his defence, Mangham said that he was just trying to show how vulnerable Facebook’s internal systems are and that he was planning to compile a report of security issues and send them to the company.

Mangham claimed that he had previously shown the search engine Yahoo how it could improve its security, and said the company rewarded him for his efforts. His defence called him an “ethical hacker” who was trying to help Facebook against real security threats and it was also pointed out Mangham had never been in trouble with the law before.

The judge concluded that the hacker did not pass on any of the information to third parties and he did not benefit financially from the hack. The stolen information did not include any user data, just Facebook’s internal data and corporate communications. Even so, the court sentenced Mangham to serve four consecutive terms in prison, three for hacking and one for causing or risking damage to the attacked systems.

The student was also given a serious crime prevention order that restricts his access to the Internet and has his computer equipment confiscated.

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