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Planned Parenthood Confirms Cyberattack Initiated by Antiabortion-Rights Hackers

Planned Parenthood Confirms Cyberattack Initiated by Antiabortion-Rights Hackers

July 28, 2015 — Planned Parenthood on Monday confirmed that its information systems had been targeted in a cyberattack by antiabortion-rights hackers, which potentially could expose sensitive employee information, The Hill reports (Bennett, The Hill, 7/27).

Background

On Sunday night, a group calling themselves 3301 claimed to have hacked into Planned Parenthood and said they plan to make public the not-for-profit's website databases, as well as the names and email addresses of Planned Parenthood workers (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/27).

The attack comes after antiabortion-rights activists recently released videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue donation. The hackers suggested that the attacks were partially motivated by the videos (The Hill, 7/27).

Attack Details

The hackers said they have posted a database connected with Planned Parenthood's website and the names and email addresses of employees online (Ohlheiser/Peterson, "The Switch," Washington Post, 7/27).

One of the hackers claiming to be involved in the attack said they had accessed internal files, email and employee information. The group has threatened to share internal emails next, although Planned Parenthood has not confirmed that the hackers have accessed that data (The Hill, 7/27). According to the Washington Post's "The Switch," there also are no signs that the hackers accessed patient information ("The Switch," Washington Post, 7/27).

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood, said the organization has informed the FBI and the Department of Justice of the incident. "Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women's health care provider in this country, and anti-abortion extremists are willing to do anything to stop women from accessing the reproductive health care they are seeking," Laguens said, adding, "Extremists have broken laws, harassed our doctors and patients, produced hack videos, and now are claiming to have committed a gross invasion of privacy -- one that, if true, could potentially put our staff members at risk" (The Hill, 7/27).

However, Laguens noted that Planned Parenthood is "working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks," adding, "We treat matters of safety and security with the utmost importance, and are taking every measure possible to mitigate these criminal efforts to undermine our mission and services" ("The Switch," Washington Post, 7/27).