No charges over UEA hacking attack

No criminal charges are to be brought despite evidence of hacking at the University of East Anglia Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Norfolk Police say no criminal charges will be brought despite evidence of a "sophisticated and orchestrated" hacking attack on University of East Anglia's computers. An inquiry was launched after hacked emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were leaked online in 2009 before crunch UN climate talks.

Climate change sceptics claimed the emails showed scientists manipulating data to support a theory of man-made global warming, but a series of reviews later cleared researchers at the unit of any scientific impropriety.

On Wednesday, the force said that the investigation had concluded the breach was "the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU's data files, carried out remotely via the internet". But a statement added that there would be no criminal proceedings.

The UEA's Climatic Research Unit was at the centre of a storm over hacked weather data on global warming in 2009. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Detective Chief Superintendent Julian Gregory said: "Despite detailed and comprehensive enquiries, supported by experts in this field, the complex nature of this investigation means that we do not have a realistic prospect of identifying the offender or offenders and launching criminal proceedings within the time constraints imposed by law."

He added that there was nothing to suggest that anyone working at or associated with the university was involved in the crime.

"The international dimension of investigating the world wide web especially has proved extremely challenging. However, as a result of our enquiries, we can say that the data breach was the result of a sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU's data files, carried out remotely via the internet."

– Det Chief Supt Julian Gregory, Norfolk Police

Professor Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, said he was disappointed that those responsible for the crime would not be brought to justice.

"We are very grateful to Norfolk Constabulary for their sustained effort over the last two and a half years, and appreciate the difficulty of devoting continued resources to such a complex international investigation. Clearly the perpetrators were highly sophisticated and covered their tracks extremely carefully."