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Student from New York admits hacking into Facebook

hacking FacebookA student from New York has accepted he did a Facebook hack that prosecutors have described as ‘most effective and egregious example of hacking..’, the Telegraph reported on Thursday.

The student, Glenn Steven Mangham, age 26, pleaded guilty to interfering with the security of Facebook between April and May 2011. The case was heard in Southwark Crown Court where it was reported that the student of software development stirred a security alarm among American authorities, the FBI included.

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Glenn successfully hacked into the systems of the largest social media network in the world and downloaded material that prosecutor Sandip Patel described as ‘highly sensitive intellectual property’.

In his defence, Glenn said he was just trying to discover vulnerabilities in the network so that Facebook can step up its security. In other words he was doing what is sometimes referred to as ‘ethical hacking’.

Glenn had deleted digital footprints but Facebook noticed the security interference on a routine systems check. During an earlier hearing of the case, the court was told how Glenn had breached a server that handles internal mailing lists in addition to another that is used to communicate software challenges to external engineers. As part of his bail terms, the court banned Glenn from using the internet. Facebook reported that personal data for its users was not compromised by his acts though.

The defence said Glenn’s character was good, adding that Yahoo! has previously rewarded Glenn for discovering weaknesses in their systems and his moral stance was high. It will be interesting to see what legal punishment Glenn gets especially considering that this is not the first time he has been found attempting to discover vulnerabilities in a large internet establishment. Such cases keep coming up every other time as software students are constantly trying their skills on company systems, often ignorant of the consequences.

 

Glenn awaits his sentence on February 17 2012.

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