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UK cybercops cuff abortion clinic web hack suspect

Info leak threat after site vandalised

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Cybercrime cops have arrested a bloke suspected of hacking into and defacing the website of Britain's largest abortion provider.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) site was compromised on Thursday by a hacker using the handle Pablo Escobar, who claimed an affiliation to the Anonymous hacktivist group.

Escobar boasted of extracting the names of women who had sought pregnancy counselling or other sexual health advice through the service - and threatened to release the data. The BPAS said the leaked data only involved details of people who had contacted the service and no medical information was taken. It added that it was the target of "about 26,000 attempts" to break into its website over a six-hour period.

Officers from the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PeCU) arrested the unnamed 27-year-old suspect in Wednesbury, West Midlands, on Friday. Detectives confirmed that the BPAS website was vandalised and "data compromised", but stressed that no medical or personal information regarding women who have received treatment at the service was obtainable.

Police said the man, who was held on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act and quizzed at a West Midlands cop shop, claimed to have links to Anonymous.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the MPS PeCU said: "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. 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." ®

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