In March, Britain’s largest abortion provider’s website was breached by a Pro-Life supporter of Anonymous, who was subsequently arrested within 24-hours of his attack. Since that time, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has said that they’ve experienced thousands of copycat attacks against their servers.
James Jeffery explained his actions on Twitter with a simple statement, given shortly after the attacks were made public. “British Pregnancy Advisory Service was attacked because they kill unborn children that have no rights. It’s murder,” he wrote.
His attack consisted of two parts, the most visible of them being the defacement of the BPAS landing page, with an Anonymous logo and another statement.
“An unborn child does not have an opinion, a choice or any rights. Who gave you the right to murder an unborn child and profit from that murder?” the defacement asked.
The second part of the attack was the breach of a database containing 10,000 records. The database stored data from women who submitted personal information to the organization via an information request form. Jeffery said in court that he later changed his mind on releasing the database, because he felt it would be wrong. His initial reasoning for the attack was his disagreement over his sister’s choice to end her pregnancy.
After Jeffery was sentenced to 32-months in jail for his actions, BPAS Chief Executive Ann Furedi commented:
“This was one of the most extreme examples of anti-abortion activity we have seen. We are grateful to the police for the swift action they took to apprehend Mr. Jeffery and are glad the matter is now resolved.”
However, weeks after the attack, Clare Murphy, the director of external affairs at BPAS told the Associated Press that they’ve recorded an estimated 2,500 copycat attacks. While police have been helpful Murphy said, there has been no need to take action as they are being considered low-level events.
“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,” Murphy stated.
Commenting on the status of their network security, and changes made after the breach in March, BPAS said they have every confidence the new systems will hold.