A British student’s alleged hacking exploits against Facebook were a cause for concern to the FBI, who feared industrial espionage, a court was told today.
Glenn Mangham, a 26-year-old software development student, has admitted hacking into Mark Zuckerberg’s social network site but said he only wanted to highlight vulnerabilities.
Mr Mangham, who has previously shown Yahoo how it could improve its security, carried out the attacks on Facebook in April and May this year, Southwark Crown Court head.
Mr Mangham, from York, considers himself a so-called “white-hat” hacker, meaning that his attacks are aimed at helping his targets, rather than being malicious in nature.
But Sandip Patel said his actions, which caused no economic loss, concerned American authorities including the FBI. The facts of the case were not opened but Mr Patel said Mangham's actions were the “most effective and egregious example of hacking into social media that has come before a British court”.
Mangham downloaded his own computer programmes on to Facebook's servers and saved “highly sensitive intellectual property” on to an external drive so he could work on it off-line.
“It required considerable expertise,” said Mr Patel.
Facebook discovered the infiltration during a systemic check though the defendant deleted his electronic footprint to cover his tracks, the barrister said.
Mangham will be sentenced on February 17.