UK abortion provider under threat from hackers

Apr 19, 2012, 2:04 PM

Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s largest abortion provider said Thursday that thousands of attempts have been made to hack its website following a high-profile security breach when personal details of 10,000 women were stolen.

Last week a judge jailed a computer hacker for breaking into the website of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and stealing the data.

The service said that in the five weeks since the man’s arrest, it had recorded around 2,500 further attempts to hack its website, though none have succeeded.

It said the attacks were low-level and patients’ details remain secure, noting that no medical records are kept on the site.

The service said about a third of the IP addresses used in the attempts were in North America, but noted that did not mean the hackers themselves were based there.

“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,” said Clare Murphy, director of external affairs at the abortion provider.

She said there was “no evidence to suggest that this was an anti-abortion attack.”

Murphy said thee attempts did not appear to be denial of service attacks, in which hackers deluge a website with traffic to bring it down.

In March, the service’s website was targeted by James Jeffery, who claimed to be a member of hacking collective Anonymous. He said he attacked the provider because he opposed the decisions of two women he knew to have abortions.

Prosecutors said that the 27-year-old defaced the site with an anti-abortion statement and the Anonymous logo, and stole personal information about some 10,000 women who had contacted the service. He later boasted about the attack on Twitter, using the name of late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar as a pseudonym.

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.


Cassandra Vinograd can be reached at

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)...

Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Arizona tech tips: What’s the difference between Zelle and Venmo

Mobile payment systems like Zelle and Venmo allow you to use your smartphone to transfer money and eliminates the need to write checks.

2 months ago

Windows and Mac tricks every computer user in Phoenix needs to know about...

Kim Komando

Windows and Mac tricks all Valley office workers should be using

Sick of wasting time on manual tasks? Use these nifty Windows and Mac tricks to save time at the computer and boost productivity.

5 months ago

New plane ticket scam robs people who want to take vacations...

Kim Komando

Escaping the Arizona heat? Beware of scammers when trying to book flights

Scammers love to target you when you're going on vacation. This nasty plane ticket scam can steal hundreds of bucks from your bank account.

5 months ago

how to clean sticky keys on your keyboard...

Ken Colburn, Data Doctors

Heatwave got your palms sweaty? Try these insider tech tricks to clean up your keyboard

If you're sick of sticky keys slowing you down, you need to know how to clean sticky keys and make your keyboard as good as new.

5 months ago

ASU research Park...

Brandon Gray

Arizona State University, Applied Materials partner to create $270M Materials-to-Fab Center

Arizona State University and Applied Materials, Inc. announced Tuesday they are partnering to create a shared research, development and prototyping facility.

5 months ago

EV plug in electric vehicle...

Brandon Gray

ADOT adds 7 state highway corridors to EV charging station network plan

The Arizona Department of Transportation is adding seven highway corridors to its planned network of electric vehicle charging stations.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

UK abortion provider under threat from hackers