The FBI Just Arrested a Rogue Hacker After Saving Him From a Disney Cruise

Rescued from a terrible fate indeed.
Publish date:
Social count:
Rescued from a terrible fate indeed.
Hacker disney rescue

Martin Gottesfeld, a 31-year-old man from Somerville, Massachusetts vanished with his wife almost a month ago. No one knew where the couple was until a Disney cruise ship assisted a foundering boat near the coast of Cuba. On board: Gottesfeld and his wife. This wasn't a patented Disney happy ending, though—once Gottesfeld, a computer engineer, returned to Miami on Wednesday, he was arrested by federal authorities. 

Martin Gottesfeld is also a suspected hacker who allegedly crashed a hospital computer system, costing the facility hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. The Boston Globe reported that Gottesfeld hacked in the name of a cause, namely that of a teen girl who had been taken from her parents by the hospital he allegedly targeted because the hospital had challenged her parents' fitness:

It’s alleged that Gottesfeld used a YouTube video, narrated by a computer-generated voice, to order the attack and direct people to sensitive information about the hospital’s server.

The US attorney’s office said that the hacking was undertaken in response to the hospital’s “handling of a teenage patient who was the subject of a high-profile custody battle between her parents” and the state. The patient was not named by prosecutors.

The video allegedly published by Gottesfeld on behalf of the girl in the controversial custody case was a classic Anonymous call to action in appearance and tone, though the video producer may have simply chosen Anonymous iconography to add weight to the message.

The cyber-attack on the hospital was highly effective, shutting down huge parts of the facility's systems and prompting fears that patient data had been exposed. 

The Globe reported that if he's convicted Gottesfeld could face five years in prison and a quarter-million-dollar fine. As's write-up on Gottesfeld noted, he had more causes than the case involving the Boston hospital, so it may be that authorities will determine more charges to file in the future. 

We're wondering if he was just relieved to get off that cruise ship and away from all that Disney-fied happiness. 

h/t Boston Globe, Heavy