Man arrested over hacking of abortion provider site

Man arrested over hacking of abortion provider site

Summary: A man has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of hacking an abortion provider's website and obtaining limited information about the site's visitors.The Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) raided an address in Wednesbury in the early hours of Friday morning, following a complaint on Thursday.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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A man has been arrested in the West Midlands on suspicion of hacking an abortion provider's website and obtaining limited information about the site's visitors.

The Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) raided an address in Wednesbury in the early hours of Friday morning, following a complaint on Thursday. According to the Met, the arrest followed "a defacement and data compromise of a website run by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)".

Hacked BPAS page

Hacker 'Pablo Escobar' claimed that this image showed the defaced BPAS site.

The 27-year-old who has been arrested apparently claims to have links to the hacking collective Anonymous, although it remains unclear whether others from the group were also involved.

The site, which remained down at the time of writing, provided a portal through which women could enquire about abortion, contraception, sexually-transmitted infection testing, sterilisation and other fertility-related matters.

No medical or personal information about clients of BPAS was compromised, the police said, although it seems the hack harvested some personal information of the people who visited the site.

"We have taken rapid action to identify and arrest a suspect involved in hacking. This was done to prevent personal details of people who had requested information from the BPAS website being made public," PCeU detective inspector Mark Raymond said.

"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."

The arrested man remains in custody at a West Midlands police station, the Met said.

Some reports have suggested he was the anti-abortion hacker who, borrowing drug lord Pablo Escobar's name as a pseudonym, threatened to release a BPAS database on Friday.

'Pablo Escobar' tweeted on Thursday that he had hacked the site, including an image of the defaced BPAS homepage that showed the Anonymous logo above a message calling abortion murder.

A link to Anonymous would be intriguing if true, given that Anonymous apparently attacked the Vatican's website on Wednesday, partly over the Catholic church's anti-abortion stance.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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