Last month, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Britain's largest abortion provider, saw 10,000 database records stolen by 27-year-old hacker James Jeffery, who was thankfully arrested the day he planned to release the data. Last week, Jeffery was sentenced to 32 months in jail. Unfortunately, the story isn't over for BPAS, as the site is now experiencing the wrath of copycat hackers.
More specifically, in the five weeks since the hacker's arrest, over 2,500 attempts have been made to hack into BPAS's systems. The good news is that BPAS says all the hacking attempts were unsuccessful, the attacks were low-level, and patients' details remain secure (no medical records are kept on the site).
"The police have been extremely supportive of BPAS but there has been no need to engage their services in these low level incidents which have caused no disruption nor compromised us or the safety of women's data," Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the abortion provider, told CBS News. She also said there was "no evidence to suggest that this was an anti-abortion attack."
Jeffery was sentenced to two years and eight months in jail after admitting 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 BPAS online. His motivation was a disagreement with his sister's choice to abort her pregnancy.
Jeffery pleaded guilty to two charges under the Computer Misuse Act. A defense lawyer said he regretted his actions, and Jeffrey reportedly wrote an apology to BPAS, in which he suggested ways the organization could improve its security infrastructure. The clinic said it never received the letter.
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."
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