Security

British Man Pleads Guilty to Hacking Pregnancy Services Agency

A 27-year-old man pleaded guilty on Saturday in a British court to hacking the website of a reproductive health services agency, obtaining the details of people who had registered on the website.

James Jeffery, of Wednesbury in the West Midlands, pleaded guilty to two offenses of gaining unauthorized access to a computer under the Computer Misuse Act of 1990, according to a statement from the Metropolitan Police Service. A sentencing date has not been set.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said in a statement it detected 26,000 attempts on Thursday to break into its website over a six-hour period. The website was also defaced with a logo of Anonymous, the hacker collective that saw several of its alleged highly skilled members charged last Tuesday by U.S. authorities.

Jeffery, who was arrested early Friday, did not obtain "medical or personal information relating to women who had received treatment at BPAS," the agency said. However, its website stored names, addresses and phone numbers of people who requested information on services such as contraception, abortion, and sterilization.

"This incident appears to be the most extreme example of what is now a very concerning escalation in anti-abortion activity aimed at providers and the women who need their services," BPAS said.

Jeffery, writing on Twitter under the handle "@PabloEscobarSec," threatened to release BPAS' database, but it appears only one record was released by him.

He tweeted the reason for the attack: "The British Pregnancy Advisory Service was attacked because they kill unborn children that have no rights. It's murder."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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