Arguably the most famed and notorious of hacking groups, Anonymous, just might have a happily after ever thanks to Disney Cruise Line. On April 21, news revealed that the Disney Wonder rescued a man and his wife who were floating on a sailboat near the Cuban coast. Disney personnel weren’t aware that the man is an alleged Anonymous hacker. He’s now in FBI custody. Martin Gottesfeld is from Massachusetts and notoriously connected to the Anonymous group. He was arrested in Miami.
Gottesfeld has been charged with conspiracy and aiding in the Boston Children’s Hospital attacks. He’s been on the FBI radar since 2014. Just one week before his rescue, Fox News reports that the police in Massachusetts were looking for the 31-year-old for a “welfare check.” It’s reported that his family (excepting his wife), friends, and employer hadn’t seen or heard from Gottesfeld in weeks. Soon after the rescue, the Bahamas-based FBI personnel contacted Boston to relay that Gottesfeld had been picked up by the Disney ship.
Police report that the Gottesfelds had three computers in their possession. “Gottesfeld and his wife were not passengers on the ship, but rather had been picked up in a sailboat, not far from Cuba,” the FBI reports. “The sailboat had run into trouble and Gottesfeld and his wife had placed a distress call, to which the cruise ship responded.” It’s unclear where the duo were headed or where their final destination was planned.
Not long ago, Gottesfeld had uploaded a YouTube video encouraging movement “in the name of Anonymous,” and asked fellow hackers to launch an attack at a hospital for how “Patient A” was treated. This patient is a teen girl who, according to Gottesfeld, “was the subject of a high-profile custody battle between her parents and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Her identity is being protected, and her parents have chosen not to share her name. However, Fox News reports that “the issue of Patient A’s custody and medical care became a national media story, with religious and political organizations and others asserting that the case was an example of government interference with parental rights.”
An Anonymous Threat
The proposed attack on the hospital has resulted in a public thank you for Gottesfeld’s arrest for being a hosting hacker. They have asked the FBI to hold him “fully accountable.” Disney didn’t reveal the name of the ship that picked up Gottesfeld, but it was quickly found out on the Disney blog site. The Wonder is the only Disney ship that was sailing in Miami when Gottesfeld was saved.
Anonymous has been making headlines recently, as always, and this Disney-involved rescue is finally a story that has a happy ending (at least for the targeted Anonymous victims). However, the Boston Children’s Hospital and anyone else can help prevent a hack with some simple foresight. Upgrade your host to a virtual private server system, change passwords often, and ensure your firewalls are updated and installed. These oversights are involved in many attacks.