A Somerville, Massachusetts, man will be doing 10 years in prison after being found guilty of launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against two healthcare organizations.
Martin Gottesfeld, 34, who identified as a member of the Anonymous movement, ended up accused of launching DDoS attacks against the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in 2014.
The attacks on these organizations were part of a campaign related to Justina Pelletier, a teen who had been the subject of a high-profile custody battle between her parents and the state of Massachusetts.
Boston Children’s Hospital and Pelletier’s parents entered a dispute over a diagnosis and a judge awarded custody of the teen to the state. Pelletier was later moved to Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, a residential treatment facility.
Gottesfeld posted a video on YouTube in the name of Anonymous urging others to launch DDoS attacks on the Boston Children’s Hospital until Pelletier was released.
A DDoS attack aimed at the hospital came from tens of thousands of bots. The attack caused disruptions not only to the Boston Children’s Hospital, but also several other medical facilities in the Longwood Medical Area.
The attack flooded 65,000 IP addresses used by Boston Children’s Hospital and several other area hospitals with junk data intended to make those computers unavailable for legitimate communications, officials said.
The hospital claimed the attack cost it over $300,000 and led to the organization losing $300,000 in donations because its fundraising portal ended up disrupted.
Gottesfeld became a suspect a few months after the attacks were launched. His home was searched and his devices were seized, but he was not charged at the time.
In February 2016, local police conducted a wellness check at Gottesfeld’s apartment after relatives and his employer grew concerned about his whereabouts. When police arrived at his home, no one was there.
On Feb. 16, 2016, Gottesfeld and his wife made a distress call from a small boat off the coast of Cuba. A nearby Disney Cruise Ship responded and rescued the couple. The ship returned to Miami and Gottesfeld was arrested.
Gottesfeld ended up convicted by a jury August 1 last year on one count of conspiracy to damage protected computers and one count of damaging protected computers.
He was sentenced to 121 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $443,000 in restitution.