Somerville man accused of plotting attack against Children’s Hospital

A Somerville man has been charged for his role in orchestrating a computer attack on a local hospital’s network according to the US Attorney’s office.

Martin Gottesfeld was arrested after having fled Massachusetts and being found in a small boat off the coast of Cuba.

Gottesfeld and his wife made a distress call after their boat ran into trouble. A Disney cruise ship responded to the call and rescued the couple.

The U.S. Attorney said Gottesfeld was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston with one count of conspiracy.

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According to the affidavit, the computer attack disrupted a hospital’s network for approximately a week and was launched in the name of the hacking group Anonymous.  The attack was an effort to affect the hospital’s handling of a teenage patient who was the subject of a high-profile custody battle between her parents and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts according to the US Attorney.

Gottesfeld allegedly posted a YouTube video calling for action against the hospital in response to its treatment of the patient.

The video was narrated by a computer-generated voice and said that Anonymous:

“will punish all those held accountable and will not relent until [Patient A] is free.”

-Affidavit

The affidavit said an attack was initiated against the hospital server and knocked the hospital’s website offline. The attack also disrupted the hospital’s day-to-day operations.  

Gottesfeld will appear before a federal judge in Miami Wednesday afternoon. The maximum sentence for conspiracy is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Sources tell 7News the threat involved the case of Justine Pellitier who was being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital.

On Wednesday, Children’s Hospital released a statement about the arrest: 

Boston Children’s Hospital is grateful to the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office for investigating the cyber-attack launched on the hospital in April 2014 and for apprehending the hacker who led the attack and holding him accountable. We also want to thank our employees who assisted the FBI throughout its investigation and who helped build the comprehensive systems and procedures that were able to thwart the attack and protect confidential information. We are pleased that these measures have since been adopted throughout the Longwood hospital and research community.

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