Almost three years after his arrest on charges related to cyberattacks he carried out against Boston Children’s hospital and another facility, Anonymous-affiliated hacker Martin Gottesfeld was sentenced to a little more than ten years in prison for perpetrating the damaging cyberattacks, according to a Reuters report.
The federal judge in Boston who handed down the sentence called Gottesfeld a “self-aggrandizing menace” and said his crime was “contemptible, invidious and loathsome.”
For his part, Gottesfeld said he planned to appeal the decision, and not only did he not have any regrets, but said he “wished he could have done more,” the report said.
In addition to the lengthy prison sentence, Gottesfeld must also pay nearly $443,000 in restitution. Gottesfeld was found guilty of two counts, including conspiracy to damage protected computers, in August.
The DDOS cyberattacks Gottesfeld waged started with a residential treatment facility in Framingham, Massachusetts and then moved to a larger and more notorious attack on Boston Children’s Hospital. According to Daniel Nigrin, CIO at Boston Children’s, the facility never “went dark” but the attack disrupted the hospital network for two weeks.
The system had to shut down external websites for a significant amount of time at a time of year when it was staging an annual walkathon. One of the websites shut down was one that sourced donations, and though he couldn’t give an exact figure, Nigrin said the loss was significant enough that they made a claim against their cyberinsurance for the event.
The cyberattack also crippled internet services used to treat patients, Reuters said.
The attacks stemmed from Gottesfeld’s upset over a child custody dispute that in 2014 was ongoing and involved a Connecticut teenager named Justina Pelletier. The case had garnered significant public attention. Pelletier had been deemed a ward of the state of Massachusetts after a dispute over a diagnosis erupted between her parents and Boston Children’s Hospital.
The hospital had determined that her health problems were psychiatric and argued that her parents were interfering in treatment. Gottesfeld disagreed with the diagnosis and advocated for her release online. Eventually, he launched the cyberattacks for which he has been sentenced, then later in 2016 attempted to flee the country via powerboat amidst a federal investigation. He was rescued at sea by a Disney Cruise Line ship after his own boat became disabled off the coast of Cuba. A tip about his rescue at sea led agents to Florida who took him into custody. He had three laptops with him, according to an FBI affidavit.
ON THE RECORD
“This was not a tens of thousands of dollars thing, it was significantly more than that,” said Daniel Nigrin, commenting earlier to HFN on the financial ramifications of the cyberattack.
“It was your arrogance and misplaced pride that has been on display in this case from the very beginning that led you to believe you know more than the doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital,” U.S. District Judge Nathaniel Gorton said, according to the Boston Herald.
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