Facebook Hacked By British Student

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A student has appeared in court to face charges that he allegedly hacked into the servers of Facebook

A student from York has appeared in court in London accused of hacking into the servers of social networking giant Facebook.

The Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that student hacker Glenn Steven Mangham, 25, managed to successfully “penetrate” Facebook during repeated attempts to access certain programmes.

It is reported that Mangham used “considerable technical expertise” to repeatedly bypass Facebook’s security.

Serious Allegations

Mangham has been charged with three counts of unauthorised access to computer material, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. He has also been charged with unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of a computer, contrary to Section 3(1) of the same Act, and with making, supplying or obtaining articles for use in an offence under Section 1 or 3 – contrary to Section 3(A) of the Act.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mangham was arrested back in June by the officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit. He was formally charged earlier this month.

The Telegraph quoted police sources as describing the incidents as one of the first investigations into attempts to illegally access Facebook

It quoted one Scotland Yard source who said that detectives were not aware of any hacking attempts “to this extent” on the site. Ironically, it seems that Mangham does not have a Facebook profile.

He appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday to answer what the judge, Nicholas Evans, described as “serious allegations” under the Computer Misuse Act.

Mangham spoke only to confirm his name and address, and did not enter a plea. According to the Telegraph he was banned from having any access to computers, his iPhone or “any devices capable of accessing the Internet” while he was on bail.

Puzzle Server Hack

It seems that between 27 April and 9 May, Mangham allegedly hacked into a Facebook “puzzle server” several times, using software he had downloaded.

Facebook apparently runs puzzle servers to allow computer programmers to test their skills. According to the Telegraph, Mangham allegedly knew that doing so could disrupt its operation.

On 29 April he reportedly also tried to hack into a “mailman” server run by Facebook via his web browser, police claim. Such systems are used by organisations to run their internal and external email distribution lists.

And just over a week later he allegedly used software to “secure access to the Facebook phabricator server”. Phabricator is a set of tools designed by the firm to make it easier to build Facebook applications such as games.

Facebook Response

Mangham had “made, adapted, supplied or offered to supply” a special software script to hack into the Phabricator server, the court heard.

Despite the extent of the alleged intrusions, Facebook said its users’ personal data was not 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 spokesman was quoted as saying.

Mangham is due to reappear next month for a committal hearing.

In February, Facebook closed a loophole found by pair of researchers from the Indiana University. They uncovered the vulnerability that allowed attackers to get their hands on user data.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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