Saturday 25 January 2020

Copycat hackers target abortion provider's website

COPYCAT hackers have targeted the website of the UK’s biggest abortion provider after an anti-abortion campaigner was jailed for breaking into the charity’s site and stealing thousands of women’s personal records.

Last week, James Jeffrey, 27, a member of hacking group Anonymous, was jailed for two years and eight months after stealing around 10,000 personal records from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) website. He hacked into the site after ‘disagreeing’ with his sister’s choice to terminate her pregnancy.

Jeffrey had planned to publish the records on the internet but got cold feet.

Since his arrest in March 9, there have been 2,500 attempts to hack into BPAS’s website by ‘copycat hackers’.

A spokesman from the charity, which treats around 55,000 women a year across a range of maternity issues, tried to play down the attempted hack attacks – as some hackers are believed to have launched hundreds of attacks within the space of a few minutes.

“This is significantly lower than anything we might have anticipated. There was no impact on our services and women's records are completely secure," she said.

A third of the 2,500 attacks have been traced to compaters in North Amercia and a third to Russia.

Anti-abortion campaigners have become increasingly militant in recent times. Last month BPAS called police to one its London clinics – where women were being filmed arriving and leaving by anti-abortion activists.

Jeffrey, from Wednesbury, West Midlands, also managed to deface the BPAS website with the Anonymous logo and a statement during his attacks.

He later confessed to his crimes during interviews with detectives.

"He said a sister and a close friend had had an abortion which he disagreed with," the court was told.

Jeffery was held after the company contacted police to say it had been targeted by a cyber criminal.

The firm believes its computer servers and website were targeted on 26,000 separate occasions over a six-hour period.

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