US authorities have officially charged Martin Gottesfeld, 32, of Somerville, Massachusetts, for launching DDoS attacks against Boston Children’s Hospital and the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, a mental illness treatment facility in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Gottesfeld was a key figure, according to authorities, and the main person behind these two DDoS attacks, which he later justified as payback for how the Boston Children’s Hospital staff treated Justina Pelletier.
The hacker detailed all the reasons for the attacks in an op-ed for The Huffington Post last month, revealing he decided to attack the hospital after he discovered that medical staff tried to take Justina away from her parents, thinking she was the subject of physical abuse by her family, but in fact had misdiagnosed her disease, and actually made it worse.
Gottesfeld and other members of the Anonymous collective decided to start a cyber-war against Boston Children’s Hospital, and later attacked other medical institutions, which in their eyes, provided incorrect medical treatment to teens suffering from mental diseases.
The DDoS attacks against the two medical institutions named in the official charges took place in October 2014, and caused damages of $618,000 combined.
Following the incidents, FBI tracked down Gottesfeld and questioned him in late 2015. Despite being told he was under an official investigation, Gottesfeld and his wife decided to leave the country by boat, sailing from Florida for the coast of Cuba.
Weather conditions strayed the boat off course, and the two called for help. A Disney cruise ship picked up their distress signal and rescued the two, leaving them under the custody of an FBI agent in the Bahamas in February 2016. He was officially arrested a few days later.