After launching a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in 2014 against US children’s hospitals on behalf of an anonymous hacker collective, Massachusetts resident Martin Gottesfeld, 34, received a sentence of 10 years in prison, according to ZDNet. He is also required to pay $443,000 in restitution for damages. He couldn’t have carried out the crime without the assistance of a botnet made up of over 40,000 internet routers.
The attack was a part of the #OpJustina campaign, which aimed to raise public interest around the case of Justina Pelletier, in which Boston’s Children Hospital medical staff made controversial decisions to separate Pelletier, who was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease in 2013, from her family due to a more recent psychiatric diagnosis. The Anonymous hacker collective and Gottesfeld himself heavily backed the movement to defend Pelletier and reunite her with her parents, who a juvenile court judge claimed were “harmfully interfering in her care,” according to Mitochondrial Disease News.
Pelletier was reunited with her family in 2014, but Gottesfeld sought revenge on the hospital’s controversial decision by launching DDoS attacks against the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, a Framingham-based mental health counseling clinic where Pelletier was held, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other Longwood Medical Area hospitals. The attacks kept Boston Children’s Hospital offline for days, disrupting day-to-day operations and research abilities.
Gottesfeld was found guilty last August of one count of conspiracy to damage protected computers and one count of damaging protected computers, which put him up against the possibility of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and another ten years for damaging protected computers.
Dana Gottesfeld, his wife, says that they plan to appeal. The two originally tried to flee to Cuba in a rented boat, but failed and were rescued from the Gulf of Mexico by a Disney cruise ship that answered their SOS call and brought them back to the States.