Self-styled cyber Robin hood, Glenn Mangham, who is only a year younger than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was jailed for 8 months by the British court today. He was also given a serious crime prevention order restricting his access to the internet and forfeiting his computer equipment. He admitted infiltrating the website from his bedroom between April and May last year.
As part of his operation, he hacked into the account of a Facebook employee and managed to reset his password. He used it to access restricted internal information while the staff member was away on holiday. Though he deleted his electronic footprint, his penetration was discovered by a routine security review by Facebook. He had apparently stolen “invaluable” intellectual property that was downloaded on his external hard drive.
The self-described “ethical hacker” said that he wanted a mini project to point out vulnerabilities, and chose Facebook because of its high-profile. He is no newbie at high-profile hacking. He had also hacked into Yahoo, but then his actions were looked upon by Yahoo as an opportunity for it to improve its security. In his defense, it was claimed that he had not tried to sell any of the information he obtained from Facebook or pass it on to anyone else. But prosecutor Sandip Patel rejected his claims and said, “He acted with determination, undoubted ingenuity and it was sophisticated, it was calculating.”
Judge McCreath said,
“I bear in mind you have never been in trouble before, that you’re young in physical years and maybe emotionally younger than your physical age, and I bear in mind all the aspects of your psychological and personal make-up. I acknowledge also that you never intended to pass any information you got through these criminal offences to anyone else and you never did so, and I acknowledge you never intended to make any financial gain for yourself from these offences.
You and others who are tempted to act as you did really must understand how serious this is. The creation of that risk, the extent of that risk and the cost of putting it right mean at the end of it all. I’m afraid a prison sentence is inevitable. 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.”
Facebook spent $200,000 (£126,400) dealing with Mangham’s crime. A Facebook spokesman said, “We applaud the efforts of the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service in this case, which did not involve any compromise of personal user data.”