According to new reports, Martin Gottesfeld, a 34-year-old resident of Massachusetts, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a DDoS campaign against the US-based children’s hospital. In addition, Gottesfeld is also to pay $443,000 for the damage his attack caused.
The attack, originally conducted back in 2014, supposedly used over 40,000 internet routers, and it targeted Boston Children’s Hospital. It was also a part of a campaign called #OpJustina, which was allegedly started by the Anonymous hacking collective.
The campaign was caused by the decision made by the hospital, which separated a teenage girl, Justina Pelletier, from her parents due to their interference with the girl’s treatment. After examining her, the hospital determined that her health problems were psychiatric, which is why they recommended her transfer to a different facility where she would receive better care. Her parents interfered with the decision, and the case received a lot of attention.
Anonymous supposedly decided to raise more public interest by interfering themselves, and Gottesfeld was one of the largest actors during the protest. Despite the fact that it was later revealed that the girl was misdiagnosed and that the parents were right, this was still unknown at the time when Gottesfeld decided to launch DDoS attacks in order to support the parents’ cause.
His attack targeted the Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, a clinic where Pelletier was held at the time. In addition, the attack also damaged other hospitals in the Longwood Medical Area. As a result, Boston Children’s Hospital was offline for several days, which has disrupted the hospital’s research capabilities and even regular, day-to-day operations.
After tracking Gottesfeld down, the authorities searched his house, but he was not arrested on the occasion. After this, Gottesfeld attempted to flee to Cuba in a boat he rented. However, his attempt to escape the federal investigation failed, and he was eventually rescued from the disabled boat by a Disney Cruise Line ship, just off the coast of Cuba.
Afterward, Gottesfeld was returned to the US and was finally arrested in 2016 after attempting to protest his prosecutor’s assignment via a hunger strike. In August 2018, Gottesfeld was found guilty of conspiring to damage protected computers. He received a prison sentence of five years for conspiring and another ten years for actually destroying the protected devices .
Gottesfeld was sentenced by the US District Judge Nathaniel Gorton. While his wife, Dana Gottesfeld, believes that the sentence was “incredibly harsh,” and that others have received lesser sentences for similar violations, Gorton has stated that the crime was “contemptible, invidious and loathsome.”
Gottesfeld himself stated that he has no regrets and that he wishes he could have done more. Meanwhile, David D’Addio, Assistant US Attorney, said that Gottesfeld is a “self-aggrandizing menace,” adding that his actions endangered children’s’ lives and that he would likely only cause more damage once released.