Boston Children’s Hospital recently experienced cyberattacks that prevented patients and medical personnel from using online accounts, and the hacker collective Anonymous could be behind it, supposedly launching an initiative in response to the Justina Pelletier case.
“Over the weekend and through [Wednesday], Boston Children’s Hospital’s website has been the target of multiple attacks designed to bring down the site by overwhelming its capacity,” spokesman Rob Graham said, according to the Boston Globe.
Anonymous is well-known for using this tactic, known as a distributed denial of service, to make websites temporarily unavailable. But it is not confirmed that the recent cyberattack is the result of the loosely organized hacker network.
In March, a YouTube video claiming to be from an Anonymous faction called for Justina Pelletier to be returned to her family in #OpJustina.
Watch the video:
There are also a few tweets regarding a call for an attack.
But one of the more official Anonymous Twitter handles asked that its factions stop attacking the hospital, if they are in fact behind the overload.
Boston Children’s Hospital did not immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment, but told the Globe it could not yet confirm the source of the attack. Law enforcement is investigating the issue.
According to the Globe, no patient data was compromised in the attack and the hospital’s main website remained functional the entire time.
The facility where Justina Pelletier has been since January – Wayside Youth and Family Support Network in Framingham, Massachusetts — also reported some “disruptions” in its networks.
“Though we do not know the source, we are dismayed and concerned that someone would try to disrupt the important work we do with hundreds of children and families in various community and home settings,” Wayside told the Globe.
Linda Pelletier, the mother of the 15-year-old in the middle of the contentious custody case that involved the hospital, told the Globe that “the whole thing has gotten out of control.
“I don’t know who Anonymous is. I just want my daughter home,” she said.
Justina Pelletier was taken into custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families last year after a disagreement over a medical diagnosis between her parents, who had been treating her for mitochondrial disease, and Boston Children’s Hospital, which said she had a psychiatric disorder instead and recommended a change in treatment. When the Pelletiers disagreed and tried to discharge Justina in order to take her to Tufts Medical Center, where she was originally diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, the parents were accused of medical child abuse and custody was taken away.
Fourteen months later, Justina remains in DCF custody, only getting to see her parents in person once week. Lou and Linda Pelletier have been in and out of court for the past year, fighting to regain custody. Most recently, a Boston juvenile court judge ruled that DCF would have permanent custody, but the parents can still appeal.
The family’s spokesman, Rev. Patrick Mahoney, confronted Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick regarding the case just this week.