A Massachusetts man was found guilty in court this week for his part in the Anonymous campaign OpJustina. OpJustina began in late 2013 when a young girl, Justina, was taken from her parents and put into protective custody following a misdiagnosis at Boston Children’s Hospital and the belief by the hospitals staff that the girl had been abused by her parents. In 2014, Anonymous member Martin Gottsfeld launched DDoS attacks against both Boston Children’s Hospital and the youth facility that Justina was sent to. The attack was so powerful that it did not only affect the hospital’s main page but also shutdown day-to-day systems needed for the hospital’s normal operations. The attack also took down the hospital’s fundraising portal and took systems offline at connected medical facilities in the area. The attack caused upwards of $300,000 in damage to the hospital’s network as well as costing the hospital an estimated $300,000 in lost donations during the outage of the fundraising portal. Gottsfeld appeared in court on Wednesday and was found guilty. He could face as much as 15 years in prison and nearly half a million dollars in fines.
Many members of Anonymous do not feel that DDoS attacks are a crime because they see it as freedom of speech, and therefore do not take it well when their members face prosecution. The group has an operation focused on supporting their members who have been taken into custody. The operation is commonly referred to as OpFreeAnon and focuses heavily on raising awareness and support. One side effect of this operation is that it has in the past caused more attacks on the original target of the original operation as well as the court hearing the case. At this time there has not yet been any talk of attacks being carried out following the guilty verdict, however this could possibly change in November following Mr. Gottfeld’s sentencing.