A member of the hacking collective Anonymous broke into the website of Britain’s biggest abortion provider and planned to publicly release the details of women who used the service.
James Jeffery, 27, stole around 10,000 database records containing the personal details of women who had registered with the site before “boasting” of his crime on Twitter.
Westminster magistrates court, London, heard that the hacker had also identified “vulnerabilities” on a string of websites including those for the FBI, the CIA and the Houses of Parliament.
Jeffery, of Castle Street, Wednesbury, West Midlands, showed no emotion as he appeared in the dock this morning to admit two offences under the Computer Misuse Act.
The court was told that Jeffery, who was arrested in a police swoop on his home during the early hours of Friday, intended to “release all the details” of those registered on the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) site.
But he had a change of heart because he thought doing so would be “wrong”, the court was told.
Earlier he had taken to Twitter, under the name Pablo Escobar, to prove he had accessed hundreds of usernames and email addresses. This involved him printing the name and logon details of a BPAS administrator.
He also managed to deface the BPAS website with the Anonymous logo and a statement.
Jeffery later confessed to his crimes during interviews with detectives, telling police two friends had had abortions which he disagreed with, the court heard.
Officers who traced the BPAS breach to Jeffery’s home found his computer “in the process of being wiped clean”. They seized a number of items including an iPad, iPhone, three laptops, a hard drive and a notebook.
The court was told that police were investigating further alleged hacking by Jeffery, involving websites for the FBI, CIA, West Midlands police, the Houses of Parliament, the US navy, Arizona police and Spanish police.
Deputy Senior District Judge Daphne Wickham described Jeffery as a “zealot with an anti-abortion campaign”. She adjourned the case, telling the court she did not have “sufficient” powers to pass sentence.
Refusing an application for bail, she added: “Many, many other organisations and people’s private details would be at risk. You clearly are an able hacker. You will be remanded in custody.”
He will be sentenced at Southwark crown court at a later date.