Times reporter arrested over NightJack blogger email hack

The TimesA former journalist with The Times has been arrested in connection with an alleged hack of a blogger’s email account in 2009.

28-year-old Patrick Foster was arrested in the early hours of the morning by British police, investigating the hacking of an email account belonging to the anonymous police blogger Nightjack in 2009.

In 2009, The Times newspaper outed Lancashire detective Richard Horton, revealing him to be the anonymous author of the NightJack blog.

The paper had successfully overturned an injunction preventing it from identifying the blog’s author, arguing that the information was in the public’s interest and that the author’s identity had been obtained through legitimate journalistic means.

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However, the Leveson Inquiry was told earlier this year that not only had Foster hacked into the email account of the police blogger, but also The Times had fought its battle in the courts to unmask the NightJack blogger *after* its reporter had admitted his offence to the paper’s management.

Editor James Harding apologised earlier this year to the inquiry into press standards, saying that he regretted the intrusion and expected “better of The Times”.

Meanwhile, the outed blogger, Richard Horton, has launched a civil action against The Times for breach of privacy and deceit.

Foster is the 11th person to be arrested as part of Scotland Yard’s “Operation Tuleta” investigation into alleged computer hacking by the media, and is also being questioned over conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

In recent months, allegations have been made that newspaper journalists (or private investigators working for them) hacked into computers belonging to police chiefs, government ministers and former army intelligence officers.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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