In one of the first cases of its kind in Britain, Glenn Steven Mangham, 25, used “considerable technical expertise” to repeatedly bypass security at the world’s dominant social network, it was claimed.
The student, from York, faces five charges, including that he “made, adapted, supplied or offered to supply” a computer program to hack into a Facebook server, Westminster magistrates’ court heard.
Police sources described the incidents as one of the first investigations into attempts to illegally access the site, which boasts more than 750 million members worldwide.
One Scotland Yard source told The Daily Telegraph that detectives were not aware of any hacking attempts “to this extent” on the site in Britain. It is understood Mangham does not have a Facebook profile.
Mangham was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit in early June on suspicion of “computer hacking offences” before being charged earlier this month.
He appeared in court for the first time yesterday on what the judge, Nicholas Evans, described as “serious allegations” under the Computer Misuse Act.
He was banned from having any access to computers, his iPhone or “any devices capable of accessing the internet” while on bail. His lawyers argued the conditions were similar to forcing him into “exile”
“The court feels it will be safer if there was no access to the internet which will reduce the temptation for your son to go on to Facebook,” said Judge Evans.
Specialist cyber crime police allege that between April 27 and May 9 Mangham repeatedly hacked into a Facebook “puzzle server” using software he had downloaded.
The firm runs puzzle servers to allow computer programmers to test their skills. Mangham allegedly knew that doing so could disrupt its operation.
On April 29 he also tried to hack into a “mailman” server run by Facebook via his web browser, police claim. Such systems are used by firms to run internal and external email distribution lists.
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.
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.