Children’s Hospital cyberterrorist no hero
Cyberterrorism is terrorism. It disrupts lives, causes panic and drains resources from where they are needed. Punishment must be swift and harsh, and no quarter must be given to these attackers just because they work in computer code rather than explosives.
Martin Gottesfeld, who attacked the Boston Children’s Hospital computer network as well as a treatment home in 2014, was sentenced on Thursday to more than 10 years in prison. Gottesfeld helped orchestrate the computer attack, which authorities say disrupted the hospital’s network for roughly a week, in the name of the infamous hacking group Anonymous. Authorities said the April 19, 2014, attack lasted at least seven days, disrupted the hospital’s network and took down its website.
A statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office, released last summer, speaks to the scope of the attack. After targeting the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network, which crippled its network for more than a week and caused the facility to spend $18,000 on response and mitigation efforts, “Gottesfeld launched a massive DDOS attack against the computer network of the Boston Children’s Hospital. He customized malicious software that he installed on 40,000 network routers that he was then able to control from his home computer. After spending more than a week preparing his methods, on April 19, 2014, he unleashed a DDOS attack that directed so much hostile traffic at the Children’s Hospital computer network that he not only knocked Boston Children’s Hospital off the internet, but knocked several other hospitals in the Longwood medical area off the internet as well.”
Martin Gottesfeld has repeatedly insisted that he had no regrets for the cyberattacks, insists his actions weren’t criminal because he says was trying to save the life of Justina Pelletier. Pelletier had been placed into state custody in Massachusetts after her parents disputed Boston Children’s Hospital doctors’ diagnosis of their daughter.
The case drew national media attention and ignited a civil rights debate. Justina Pelletier was later returned to her parents per order of a judge.
Gottesfeld’s lack of remorse did him no favors in court. “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. Judge Gorton also called Gottesfeld’s crimes “contemptible, invidious and loathsome.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney David D’Addio described him as a “selfaggrandizing menace,” who put lives in danger, continues to peddle “lies and conspiracy theories about his prosecution” and is a serious risk of offending again.
Gottesfeld is no hero. He is an ignorant coward who belongs in jail.