Copycat hackers target website of Britain's biggest abortion provider
British Pregnancy Advisory Service say women's records were not at risk
16:11 GMT, 19 April 2012
Copycat hackers around the world have targeted Britain’s biggest abortion provider since a computer expert was arrested for breaking into the charity’s website.
James Jeffery, 27, was jailed for two years and eight months last week for stealing about 10,000 personal records of women held by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS).
The bpas website has been subject to 2,500 hacker attacks
Since his arrest on March 9, there have been 2,500 attempts to hack into BPAS’s systems, with around a third traced to computers in North America and a third to Russia.
BPAS said they were 'low-level' attacks which caused no significant disruption, and stressed that the medical records of women who have had terminations were never at risk.
Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the abortion provider, said: 'The police have been extremely supportive of BPAS but there has
been no need to engage their services in these low level incidents.'
A spokeswoman for the abortion provider, which treats around 55,000 people a year, played down the significance of the number of attempts because some hackers are likely 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.
Jeffery, of Wednesbury in the West Midlands, targeted BPAS because he disagreed with the decisions of two women he knew to terminate their pregnancies, London’s Southwark Crown Court was told.
As well as stealing the records, which he later intended to publish, he also defaced the website’s homepage with an anti-abortion message.
Jeffery was tracked down through his Internet service provider address, and pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act. His defense lawyer said at the time that Jeffery regretted his actions and had written to the organization to apologize and suggest ways it could improve its Internet security.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service said Thursday it never received that letter but has 'every confidence' in its security system.