Somerville Man Convicted For Attack On Boston Children’s Hospital Computer Network

SOMERVILLE, MA – A Somerville man was convicted this week of conducting disruptive computer attacks on Boston Children's Hospital and Wayside Youth and Family Support Network on behalf of the hacking collective Anonymous. Martin Gottesfeld, 32, was arrested in 2016 after being rescued during an escape attempt to Cuba, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

On March 25, 2014, Gottesfeld orchestrated a distributed denial of service – or DDOS – attack against Wayside, a Framingham-based nonprofit that provides mental health counseling and family support services to children, young adults and families in Massachusetts, authorities said. The attack crippled Wayside's network for more than a week, costing the residential treatment facility $18,000 in response and mitigation efforts.

He later launched a second DDOS attack against the computer network of the Boston Children's Hospital, customizing malicious software that he installed on 40,000 network routers and could control from his home computer, the USAO said. The attack on April 19, 2014 directed so much hostile traffic at the hospital's computer network that it and several other hospitals in the Longwood Medical Area were knocked off the internet.

Gottesfeld identified himself as a member of Anonymous and said he launched the attacks on behalf of the organization. He demanded change in the hospital's handling of a teenage patient, who had been discharged months earlier and was the subject of a custody battle between her parents and the state, according to authorities.

The attack flooded 65,000 IP addresses with junk data, disrupting the Children's Hospital network for at least two weeks and interrupting access to internet services used by the staff to treat patients. It rendered computers in several other area hospitals useless for legitimate communication, as well.

The attack cost Boston Children's Hospital more than $300,000 and lost it close to $300,000 in donations, as the hospital's fundraising portal was disabled.

Federal authorities searched Gottesfeld's home later that year and seized a number of computers, servers and hard drives. However he was not formally charged at the time.

In February of 2016, police conducted a wellness check at Gottesfeld's apartment after receiving calls from relatives and his employer. No one was home, and on Feb. 16, a Disney Cruise Ship received a distress call from Gottesfeld and his wife off the coast of Cuba. The ship rescued the couple and returned to Miami, where Gottesfeld was arrested.

Gottesfeld was found guilty of conspiracy to damage protected computers and damaging protected computers Wednesday. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14.

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