A 34-year-old man from Somerville, Massachusetts, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against two healthcare organizations in the United States.
Martin Gottesfeld, who identified himself as a member of the Anonymous movement, was accused of launching DDoS attacks against the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network back 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.
According to authorities, the DDoS attack aimed at the hospital was powered by 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 Boston hospital claimed that the attack had cost it over $300,000 and led to the organization losing roughly $300,000 in donations due to the attack disabling its fundraising portal.
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, he and his wife attempted to flee the country on a small boat, but they returned to the US on a Disney Cruise Ship that had rescued them off the coast of Cuba.
Gottesfeld was arrested upon his return. He was convicted by a jury on August 1, 2018, of one count of conspiracy to damage protected computers and one count of damaging protected computers.
He has now been sentenced to 121 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $443,000 in restitution.
According to Reuters, Gottesfeld plans on appealing the sentence, but says he has no regrets.