Disney Cruise Ship Rescues Anonymous-associated Hacker and Hands him over to the FBI

The twists and turns of fate are hard to comprehend and predict. The very unlucky hacktivist who is an active ally of the infamous hacker group Anonymous, Martin Gottesfeld has been arrested by the FBI in Miami in a surprising manner.

The Arrest:

NBC reported that Gottesfeld and his wife were rescued by people on board a Disney Cruise ship near Cuba. The couple was trying to escape on a sailboat but their luggage, vessel and the three laptops “ran into trouble.” Thus, Gottesfeld was forced to make a desperate call to the nearby Disney cruise ship, which responded quickly. The FBI was notified about the couple’s location by a Bahamian.

Gottesfeld, 31, is believed to have participated in at least two cybercrime operations possibly launched by Anonymous. The US District Attorney’s office unsealed an affidavit in federal court claiming that Gottesfeld provoked and even associated Anonymous in launching an attack against the Boston-based health care facility over Justina Pelletier’s custody case. Gottesfeld and his wife just vanished into thin air. Their relatives and co-workers got worried and informed the FBI that they haven’t received any information about their whereabouts. Authorities claim that Gottesfeld remained absent from work for weeks and the couple weren’t in contact with their relatives or fellow employees at all.

Exploring the Loose ends:

Gottesfeld has remained a person of interest for the FBI since October 2014. The investigative agency has been keeping an eye on him ever since a Boston hospital was targeted by a distributed denial of service attack. Gottesfeld was suspected of having links with Anonymous and the FBI even checked his house as well once for evidence. Last week, a wellness check was also conducted at his apartment by the Somerville Police to find clues that may lead to his whereabouts.

We know that Anonymous posted a video in March 2014 titled “OpJustina.” However, FBI maintains that Gottesfeld had pleaded Anonymous in a private post to do something against the hospital. Reportedly, Justina Pelletier was suffering from mitochondrial diseases and was being held at the Boston Children’s Hospital. The parents of the girl were involved in a nasty custody battle with the State of Massachusetts. They were fighting over the girl’s possible abuse and the treatment. After the initial exchange of requests between Anonymous and Gottesfeld, the hospital’s networks went offline for about a week and cost a damage of $300,000.

The hospital confirmed in a recent statement that Anonymous perpetrated this attack and thanked its employees for cooperating with the FBI. It must be noted that the hacktivist group was never associated explicitly with the attack on the hospital. On the other hand, The Boston Globe published a report citing that the attacks “bore the hallmarks” of operations conducted by Anonymous.

In 2014 when HackRead reported on OpJustina one of the Anonymous Twitter handles called the attack idiotic and claimed that they are not supporting such attacks.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.