Don't Even Think About Trying to Hack Facebook

Even failing to hack the social network is enough to draw attention from the FBI

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Glenn Manham, a U.K.-based hacker who tried (and failed) to break into Facebook earlier this year, finally got out of prison on Wednesday. It's unclear how long Manham spent in jail but since he was arrested on June 2, it sounds like two months. As a condition of his bail, British courts have forbidden Manham to access the Internet, and despite the fact that he botched his attempt to crack the world's most popular website, he's now the subject of a Scotland Yard investigation as well as one by the FBI.

Frankly, the ratio of things that Manham did not do to the amount of trouble he's in sends a strong message to the hacker community. The Guardian reports that Manham is accused of attempting to access a number of areas on Facebook servers, but failed on every count. "It is not known what data Mangham is accused of accessing," write Shane Dean and Josh Halliday. "The information commissioner's office, which investigates potential data breaches of this kind, said that Facebook had not reported any incident over this period." A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that "no user data was compromised."

So far, Manham has not been connected to the threat from Anonymous to "kill Facebook," but whomever is behind that threat might want to think twice. Once the FBI catches you hacking the consequences can be severe. Legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick just published his memoir about growing up hacking in the 1990s and his sort of hilarious escapades running from the FBI for three years. After they caught him in 1992, Mitnick was sentenced to five years in jail and afterward was forbidden to access the Internet for three years and to profit from telling his life story for seven years. It should be noted that Mitnick was actually very successful at hacking things, but he only did it out of "intellectual curiosity, pursuit of knowledge and seduction of adventure."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.