back to article No plain sailing for Anon hacktivist picked up by Disney cruise ship: 10 years in the cooler for hospital DDoS caper

Five months after he was found guilty of orchestrating a distributed denial-of-service attack against US healthcare providers, the self-styled Anonymous hacker Martin Gottesfeld has been sentenced to 121 months in prison. In 2014, Gottesfeld knocked Boston Children's Hospital and the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network …

  1. imanidiot Silver badge

    And this is why it shouldn't be allowed to represent yourself in criminal court unless you can show you are competent enough to do so. Yes, the guy is an idiot. He probably would have gotten a far lesser sentence had he had a competent lawyer to show mitigating circumstances and prevent him from shooting himself in both feet with a letter like that.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      This is one of those cases where I'm happy that he strategically manoeuvred himself into a longer sentence.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      "prevent him from shooting himself in both feet"

      Why? That's protected by the Second Amendment.... <G>

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Judges always question defendents who say they want to represent themselves and lay out the likely consequences of doing it. Even the US allows people to avail of a public defender if needs be. And even if they represent themselves, the judges tend to give them a little more slack and assistance in making their defence, providing they don't go all sovereign citizen or something equally insane.

    4. MiguelC Silver badge

      A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client...

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client...

        Not always. I'm not a lawyer, but I have represented myself twice in civil court and beat the crap out of both companies legal teams (one of which is a FTSE 100). I can't afford to spend money on solicitors & barristers to attend small claims court on my behalf, because their costs are not ordinarily recoverable.

        I would agree that representing yourself in criminal court seems unlikely to succeed. If you had incontrovertible evidence of your innocence, your file would probably not have gone to the CPS, the CPS probably wouldn't have approved chargers and brought a case. You're going to need specialist help to ensure you don't fall prey to some legal shennanigans 101 trick.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > and beat the crap out of both companies legal teams

          Australian rules?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "> and beat the crap out of both companies legal teams

            Australian rules?"

            I know lawyers aren't well liked, but taking to their balls with sandpaper seems a little harsh...

            1. phuzz Silver badge
              Trollface

              Lawyers are like sperm, one in every hundred-thousand has a chance of becoming human.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              " lawyers aren't well liked"

              Q. How many lawyers does it take to put a new roof on a house?

              A. Three, but you need to slice them real thin.

        2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          But a lawyer helps

          I had to go to a small claims court when an employer was doing me wrong. I spent an hour with a lawyer to understand what I was up against and how to marshall my evidence and arguments, then went into court with my papers and everything prepared. Took ten minutes to win and get costs. You'd get expert advice on something medical, techie, etc, and it's the same with the law.

        3. MonkeyCee Silver badge
          Pint

          Civil vs criminal

          "I have represented myself twice in civil court"

          "I would agree that representing yourself in criminal court seems unlikely to succeed."

          Can't agree more with both of these statements.

          Bear in mind in civil court both parties are equal before the state, so as long as you are prepared for what is happening (which may or may not involve a lawyer), then legal representation is not required. It's also generally only adjudicating over property, which is generally money. Small claims court in particular shouldn't require it, as it would be counter intuitive to it's purpose.

          Criminal court is when you can get your rights removed, and this has a need to be thorough. The accused is presumed innocent, and the burden of proof is on the prosecution. A judge may require you to have representation in order to avoid a mistrial, and you'd would indeed be a fool to not have an impartial expert to present your side.

          Have a beer for taking companies to small claims. I've been fucked around by larger companies to realise that for some not paying their suppliers until the summons hits is part of their plan. Once it was clear I'd go to court they paid up. As late and as inconvenient as possible, but early enough* that they wouldn't have to pay any share of my costs, since we'd "settled".

          * 1645 on the day before the hearing was popular.

        4. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
          Pint

          LL boasted about twice not needing a lawyer to "...attend small claims court on my behalf..."

          Reportedly, in some jurisdictions, lawyers are explicitly discouraged from attending Small Claims courts. The purpose and intent of the entire Small Claims concept is to minimise costs.

          It's easy to win if the facts are on your side.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            JeffyPoo confused himself by posting about something he clearly has no experience of.

            Facts, while important, are nto what wins a small claims case. Facts can be established by photos and documentation in most cases. Its the interpretation of those facts in relation to the relevant statutory acts and contractual terms that wins or loses the case.

            If the facts alone were enough, there'd be no dispute to resolve in court.

    5. Paul 77

      @imanidiot the problem is "justice", such as it is costs a rediculous amount of money. Some people just can't afford to get a lawyer. In theory, I would think the judge should recognise that and try and make things at least vaguely fair, but maybe he just couldn't be bothered.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        > @imanidiot the problem is "justice", such as it is costs a rediculous amount of money.

        One the very first day of most law schools the students are told it's a LEGAL system and to knock any misguided ideas of it being a JUSTICE system out of their stupid heads.

  2. DrXym Silver badge

    What a hero

    Launching a DDOS attack at hospitals caring for sick children. That's pretty low by any standard regardless of what contorted, ego driven reasoning made him do it.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: What a hero

      Particularly as DDOS can knock of collaborative working on care between institutions and make it harder for clinical information to be transferred from abroad.

      We routinely have to send information quickly to the other side of the world as someone has been injured whilst on holiday, it absolutely would impact patient care at that end if they didn't have knowledge of prior treatment.

      This is also why the NHS still has faxes, it's not popular but in many cases they are there as a business continuity backup, very much a last resort though.

      1. wikedstik

        Re: What a hero

        You don't have pigeons?

        1. GnuTzu Bronze badge
          Trollface

          Re: What a hero

          Our pigeons can do TCP/IP.

          1. whitepines Silver badge

            Re: What a hero

            SYN --> SYN / ACK --> food? Whoops, gotta wait for the 24-hour timeout.

            On a more serious note, those wonderful old fax machines don't happen to run over a T.38 VoIP network, do they?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: What a hero

      ack, he could've lit flaming dog poo on the doorstep of the doctors who DARED to overstep the civil rights of the teenager and her parents, or organize an irritating demonstration, or something similar [with cameras rolling, etc.] and had more effect without going to jail for it.

      It was wrong what EVERYONE did. DDOSing a hospital isn't a "cure".

    3. NotBob

      Re: What a hero

      To be fair, I followed the case, and the folks involved at the hospital shouldn't have jobs anywhere in healthcare ever again. They should be facing jail time alongside him for kidnapping, and the judge should be flipping burgers.

  3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "vein attempt"

    So close...Too bad he's probably not allowed to use a computer or spell check might have noticed that...

    1. Korev Silver badge

      That would have been in "vein"; the word itself was correctly spelt...

  4. xeroks

    Handwriting

    I'm going to keep a copy of this note and show it to people who disparage my own scrawlish handwriting.

    "Here is the handwriting of someone who believes it is morally right to take down hospital IT," I shall say, "Do not trust people who write neatly."

    I bet his desk is tidy too (definitely for the next 10 years)

    1. Jonathan Richards 1
      Go

      Re: Handwriting

      You think that's *neat handwriting*? I thought it was pretty scrappy. I also thought that he wrote "vein attempt" until I saw that a was written much like an e every time. Also, it slopes backward. Do not trust people whose handwriting slopes backward, irrespective of neatness.

      1. lowwall

        It's sinister all right.

        I mean left.

      2. Norman Nescio Silver badge

        Re: Handwriting

        You think that's *neat handwriting*? I thought it was pretty scrappy. I also thought that he wrote "vein attempt" until I saw that a was written much like an e every time. Also, it slopes backward. Do not trust people whose handwriting slopes backward, irrespective of neatness.

        Just in case anybody takes you seriously, there is no good evidence that graphology is any better then wild guesses.

        North Texas Skeptics factsheet on graphology

        Note that Forensic analysis of handwriting* to show that two samples were likely written by the same person is different, and does have at least some basis in reality. For example, in the Hitler diaries hoax, the diaries were 'authenticated' in part by several different experts agreeing that the diaries were written by the same person that wrote papers previously authenticated as being written by Hitler. Unfortunately, subsequent forensic analysis of the ink and paper the Hitler diaries were written with showed that they could not have been written by Hitler (the paper contained chemicals first used in paper manufacturing after Hitler's death, and the ink was shown to have been applied to the papers within the previous 12 months), and it turned out that the forger of the Hitler diaries had previously forged the documents used to authenticate the diaries -so the writing matched (HowStuffWorks:Hitler Diaries, HuffPo:More details, ABC:Hitler Diary paper and ink).

        NN

        *the link is an interesting article, worth a read.

  5. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    kidnapping pretty despicable imo, especially when practiced by a hospital.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > kidnapping pretty despicable imo, especially when practiced by a hospital.

      https://mitochondrialdiseasenews.com/2018/01/12/false-child-abuse-charges-trouble-mito-parents/

      I'm not sure that Boston Children's Hospital quite went as far as kidnapping, but they did cause a completely innocent child (Pelletier) to be held against her will in a psychiatric ward for 16 months because her parents had the temerity to claim that she might get better care at another centre.

      And BCH has form. In a different case, same illness, it required one set of parents to suspend their son's treatment - or they would be charged with child abuse - and only relented when his condition got worse.

  6. Big Al 23

    Crazy people harming the innocent

    He lives in a world of delusion and it proved harmful to many.

    1. NotBob

      Re: Crazy people harming the innocent

      So the same world as the BCH employees, but he caused less demonstrable harm.

  7. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

    He may have no regrets regarding his IT activities or recognise any moral culpability there, but should at least regret being a crap sailor..

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