James Jeffery has been sentenced to a total of two years and eight months imprisonment for hacking the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s website last month.
At an earlier hearing Jeffery, 27, of Castle Street, West Midlands pleaded guilty to two offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
On 8 March he stole around 10,000 database records of people making enquires through the charity’s website and threatened to publish them. He also defaced the charity’s homepage and posted an anti-abortion statement. At no point did he gain access to any medical records.
BPAS reported the incident to police, which it described at the time as “unprecedented” and obtained an injunction to prevent the publication of the details. Jeffery was arrested at his home on 9 March by the Police Central e-Crime Unit.
In court it was revealed that he was a member of the Anonymous hacking group and at the time of the offence had strong views on abortion.
Sentencing Jeffery Judge Michael Gledhill said: “You only have to think for a few seconds of the terrible consequences had that threat been carried out.
“The sentence I impose is both to punish you for what you have done and to send out a clear message of deterrence to anyone tempted to commit similar hacking offences.”
Jeffery has written a letter of apology to the charity and also informed police of security vulnerabilities in other websites including the FBI, CIA, Houses of Parliament, West Midlands Police and the US Navy.
BPAS chief executive Ann Furedi said: “This was one of the most extreme examples of anti-abortion activity we have ever 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.”