Anonymous hacks abortion clinic, steals 10,000 records

Anonymous hacks abortion clinic, steals 10,000 records

Summary: Anonymous member James Jeffery this week hacked into the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and stole 10,000 database records. He was arrested the day he planned to release the data.

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27-year-old Anonymous member James Jeffery today admitted he hacked into the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain's largest abortion provider. On Thursday, he defaced the website and stole around 10,000 database records containing the personal details (names, user names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers) of women who had registered with the site. His motivation was a disagreement with his sister's choice to abort her pregnancy.

As you can see in the screenshot above (courtesy of ZDNET UK), here is what Jeffery wrote on the BPAS website, below the Anonymous logo he placed there:

An unborn child does not have an opinion, a choice or any rights. Who gave you the right to murder that unborn child and profit from that murder? "The product, abortion, is skilfully marketed and sold to women at the crisis time in her life. She buys the product, and wants to return it for a refund. But it’s too late." \\\ Hacked by PabloEscboar, Anonymous ///

The same day, he boasted about his crime on Twitter, under the handle PabloEscobarSec:

http://www.bpas.org hacked: postimage.org/image/l1wzwuo2… Database dump will be released tomorrow ... #anonymous #antiabortion #humanrights British Pregnancy Advisory Service was attacked because they kill unborn children that have no rights. It's murder. @liannedemello @clare_bpas wrong. We have their entire database and customers contact details. @bpas1968 1,clare.murphy@bpas.org,Clare,59,2,bpas999,Murphy,e85dae457dbce0fde45f80cf7c3b91ef4f4783a8ad12e0.98902149,clare ... proof enough? @ntihero Google this "Pabloescobar Lulzsec" ... you might just find I am. Isn't weak ass security the reason for all attacks?

At first, BPAS said it was confident that the women's personal details would not be leaked. Later, the organization confirmed the hack.

"The website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) was hacked into and defaced for a period on 8th March, 2012 in what appeared to be a sophisticated cyber attack by an anti-abortion extremist," a BPAS spokesperson said in a statement. "Around 26,000 attempts to break into our website were made over a six hour period, but the hacker was unable to access any medical or personal information regarding women who had received treatment at bpas. The website does store details (names, addresses and phone numbers) of people who have requested information from bpas via the website, including those making personal inquiries as well as health and education professionals, the media and students. These may have been inquiries relating to contraception, pregnancy, abortion, STI testing and sterilisation. All relevant authorities have been informed and appropriate legal action taken to prevent the dissemination of any information obtained from the website."

Jeffery never got a chance to release the records he stole from BPAS. On Friday, he was arrested by the Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) in his home. On Saturday (today), Jeffery admitted to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act. While working with Anonymous, he has also hacked other websites in the past, including those of the FBI, the CIA, West Midlands police, the Houses of Parliament, the US navy, Arizona police, and Spanish police. In this case though, Jeffery appears to have worked alone, despite the fact he posted the Anonymous logo on the BPAS website.

No medical information about BPAS' clients was compromised. Instead, Jeffery seems to have obtained personal information of women who visited the site. "We have taken rapid action to identify and arrest a suspect involved in hacking," PCeU detective inspector Mark Raymond said in a statement. "This was done to prevent personal details of people who had requested information from the BPAS website being made public. It should be stressed that the stolen data did not contain the medical details of women who had received treatment or why individuals had contacted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service."

BPAS, which sees about 55,000 women a year in its 40 clinics and other centers across the U.K., provides females with information and a forum to enquire about abortion, contraception, sexually-transmitted infection testing, sterilisation, and other fertility-related matters. The organization's stated purpose is to support "reproductive choice by advocating and providing high quality, affordable services to prevent or end unwanted pregnancies with contraception or by abortion."

Jeferry will be sentenced at a later date.

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Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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8 comments
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  • Seems obvious to me... It was his SISTERS choice not his.

    That was between her and her values and or her god if she believed in such a thing. I also found his statement that the generic woman who bought the product wanted to return said product but how does he know this? I'm guessing in such a personal decision there maybe those who later regret but I'm also guessing that are very likely those who don't regret what so ever... Not even a little. As for myself well I was born to an abusive, drug addicted father and a mother who could not stand up to him. I had that going for me and then at age 6 I was hit with diabetes. After a long stint of abuse physical and mental with dear old dad mom left him after he was shot by police officers while I watched. When mom was single she managed to put me in a car with her and her new boyfriend (a married man) and that car got hit by a train. My babysitter sexually abused me, and later mom found a new man who was an abusive alcoholic. Now I'm 49 my kidney's have failed me and I spent 3 years in dialysis cause I have a rare blood type B+ (I am!) So my ending is going to be a slow slog as my entire life has been and if anyone told me that my mother while carrying me had thought that she was not up to motherhood (She was soooo NOT) and had thought about an abortion but someone or some group had talked her out of it or put pressure on her to have the child anyway i'd find those people and be very creative in my expressions of disagreement with them it would take hours if not days for my message to be clearly delivered. As they say "Such is life:)"

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Its funny in a sad way...

    Women murder their babies because they are inconvenient all the time... yes the guy who gets outraged by it and tries to make a statement somehow is the only one who actually committed a crime. Some laws are really bad... sure he broke the law and should be punished, but it still makes me puke to even think total monsters out there can kill their own children and have it be perfectly legal.
    doh123
    • Amen, amen, . . .

      and, can I say: "AMEN!"

      If James had hacked and defaced the website of the racist British National Party, I wonder what the reaction would have been?
      mwidunn
    • Murder their babies ?

      If you can consider a group of non sentient cells a child. Many do not, and they would be correct in their stance, as it is not murder.

      You kill just as much everytime you have eggs for breakfast.
      Tim Cook
  • 3, 2, 1...

    Countdown to Anonymous hacking Anonymous...
    rgcustomer@...
  • humm

    While I would agree that abortion is murder - I don't want a lowlife hacking group taking action on my behalf. Two wrongs do not make a right.
    CobraA1
  • A couple questions. Just what is life? Is life really sacred?

    Well "IF" we were to find a single cell on Mars everyone would be in agreement that life was found on Mars. Yet we on this plant go to great lengths to kill bacteria and the like daily so obviously that is not sacred. How about animal life? Nope we kill that in massive numbers daily. So what about human life? Well no right now we as Americans are killing in at least two conflicts a lot of people. Some of which are not even fighting back... They are often referred to as collateral damage. Cause that makes it OK you see:). What about babies cause they are innocent and their lives MUST be trully sacred right? Well in places like say Africa they die daily from starvation and disease all preventable but I hear no outrage from this fellow... Odd that and in theory these babies were at the very least wanted. So now we are down to unborn childers certainly they are the most innocent and deserving of life which again is sacred cause each and everyday we go to great lengths as a people and or society to show how sacred life at least human life is except when it clearly is not that is:). So no life not even "innocent" human life is sacred and all of us are witness if not participants in this clearly obvious part of the human condition.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Arrrggghhh

    Oh no, the M-151 Abortion Thread, O.D. Green, 1 each.

    It's the same thread whether it appears on Slate, or Free Republic, or the Huffington Post, or Politico, or Fox Nation, or MSNBC.

    Avoiding The Abortion Thread is one reason I come to tech sites. I am sorry to see it here.
    Robert Hahn