British hacker jailed over abortion website attack

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A judge on Friday sentenced a computer hacker to two years and eight months in jail for breaking into the website of Britain's biggest abortion provider and stealing the personal details of thousands of women.

James Jeffery, who claimed to be a member of hacking collective Anonymous, said he targeted the British Pregnancy Advisory Service because he opposed the decisions of two women he knew to have abortions.

Prosecutors say 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.

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.

Passing sentence at London's Southwark Crown Court, Judge Michael Gledhill said there could have been "terrible consequences" if Jeffery had published the women's details.

"Many of them were vulnerable women, vulnerable simply because they had had a termination or because of their youth or because their family did not know about their situation," the judge said.

Defense lawyer Shaun Wallace said Jeffery regretted his actions and had written to the organization to apologize and suggest ways it could improve its Internet security.

(This version CORRECTS name of group to British Pregnancy Advisory Service, instead of 'advice service.')