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Anonymous's Latest Target: Boston Children's Hospital 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the put-down-the-digital-pitchforks dept.
Brandon Butler writes: "Supporters of the faceless collective known as Anonymous have taken up the cause of a young girl, after the State of Massachusetts removed her from her parents earlier this year. However, the methods used to show support may have unintended consequences, which could impact patient care. On Thursday, the Boston Children's Hospital confirmed that they were subjected to multiple DDoS attacks over the Easter holiday. Said attacks, which have continued throughout the week, aim to take the hospital's website offline. Similar attacks, including website defacement, have also targeted the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. Both organizations are at the heart of a sensitive topic, child welfare and the rights of a parent." Members of Anonymous are now calling for a halt to the attacks.
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Anonymous's Latest Target: Boston Children's Hospital

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  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday April 25, 2014 @01:46PM (#46842703)

    I've worked in healthcare.
    The company I worked for had their services hosted for at a data center. That Data Center also hosted some Banks.
    Groups like anonymous think they are performing some social disobedience by DDoS the banks, Also DDoS the actual Data center. While it took a few minutes for the network to switch over there were a few hundred doctors who couldn't access their software, for that time.

    XKCD described these attacks like vandalizing a bill board. But it is more like vandalizing a bill board by shooting a gun at it, and not knowing who or what is behind it.

    • by frovingslosh (582462) on Friday April 25, 2014 @01:57PM (#46842819)
      Attacks to a website could impact patient care? If there is any truth at all to this (which I really doubt) then people should be made aware of it immediately. Thanks Anonymous, I really want to know if I'm going to get patient care at a hospital where that care could be compromised just by a problem on their website.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jellomizer (103300)

        Yes, it could.

        1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization.

        2. The web sites now offer more services to patients and other providers. Such as logging in and able to send their Medical Records, Book and Appointment, or securely send a message to your doctor.

        3. If you kill the Router (That devices that will need to direct you to the website) as the device wouldn't expect th

        • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday April 25, 2014 @02:24PM (#46843105) Homepage Journal

          1. Children's hospitals receive donations and nail research grants with an alarming deftness. Boston Children's Hospital is, according to their own architecture, the best [trimedmedia.com]. There's no shortage of money. They did have some layoffs a couple of years ago [wbur.org], but with a ridiculous savings ratio (255 jobs, costing 89.5 million annually, constituting somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3% of their budget.)

          2. Their primary website is located at 134.174.13.251 (childrenshospital.org). Patient info retrieval is hosted on 134.174.13.5 (apps.childrenshospital.org). There is a booking form located on the main site, but at any rate it's working just fine now.

          • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Friday April 25, 2014 @03:21PM (#46843637)

            1. Children's hospitals receive donations and nail research grants with an alarming deftness. Boston Children's Hospital is, according to their own architecture, the best [trimedmedia.com]. There's no shortage of money. They did have some layoffs a couple of years ago [wbur.org], but with a ridiculous savings ratio (255 jobs, costing 89.5 million annually, constituting somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3% of their budget.)

            Having income is not the same thing as having money. Hospitals and medical care is expensive, especially in the US. It looks like that job cut was due to a $150 million budget shortfall.

        • In short you do not know how things are connected, and could be combined with other things that you don't expect.

          I don't know how things are connected, but I do know how things should be connected. That is, for any such organization, their public website should be hosted remotely on a hosting provider somewhere. It shouldn't be a door directly into the hospital. the patient records, drug delivery control software, or even the computerized toilets. Hosting the website locally is a big red lag that someo

        • Yes, it could.

          1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization.

          One would think that HIPAA would nix that idea. I could be wrong, but patient records on the same direct wiring as the public Internet? I'd not only fire the architect, I'd have the SOB castrated to insure that his stupidity didn't pass on to any future progeny. It ain't that expensive to buy a decent pair of firewalls and segment things out.

          2. The web sites now offer more services to patients and other providers. Such as logging in and able to send their Medical Records, Book and Appointment, or securely send a message to your doctor.

          So do banking sites (money transfers, billpay, etc), which often run even leaner than hospitals (at least the smaller banks and credit unions do) - they also know enoug

        • "1. Most hospitals are operating at a loss, thus do not have money to maintain a strong infrastructure. Meaning that website could be on the same pipe as the rest of the organization."

          Then they should not be running internet facing machines if they cant afford robust hosting and compatmentalization. This is like saying 'well we cant afford elevators so we will jsut use the stairs for everything.' If you have IT infrastructure, its costs BUCKETS of money to run it, if you cant afford that then you have no
        • Are operating at a loss....but that's largely because of accounting, and paying execs millions of dollars.

        • by stox (131684)

          Unfortunately, non-profit hospitals are, in many cases, a sham. Yes, the "hospital" is losing money, while all the doctors working there are pulling in substantial incomes at the same time.

          • by sessamoid (165542)

            Unfortunately, non-profit hospitals are, in many cases, a sham. Yes, the "hospital" is losing money, while all the doctors working there are pulling in substantial incomes at the same time.

            Are you suggesting that those doctors, nurses, technicians should all work for free?

            Regardless, what the physicians make has little to do with how the hospital fares. In the US, hospitals rarely employ physicians. Hospitals are just one of the places where doctors go to take care of patients. There's usually little financial linkage between the two.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Glassdoor suggests that the doctors working there aren't making all that much money, and a quick google around suggests that the top administrator is not all that well-paid in terms of the hospital's gross income.

    • If I'm in a hospital or doctors office and the quality of my care is dependent on the stability of their network, there's definitely something very wrong.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      The both your organization and the banks fucked up. You shouldn't have outsourced something so critical to your business if thats the case.

      You most certainly don't connect devices and networks for medical devices to a public network, if you did, you shouldn't be fired, you should be fired at with a large caliber weapon for not knowing what the fuck you were doing. YOU put peoples lives at risk.

      What the hell is wrong with you that you have software that has to be used offsite for medical purposes?

      Note: I'v

    • Since the elective representative process is broken. Would you prefer they used guns instead to enact change?

  • If the smooth operation of a hospital's web site has any effect on patient care, I'm not sure I would entrust my mortal shell to such a hospital.
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Friday April 25, 2014 @02:15PM (#46843021)

    I heard about it on the radio a couple of weeks ago. This case is an absolutely appalling abuse of power.

    Advocates Fight for Justina Pelletier, Teen Held by State in Psych Ward [go.com]

    One day Justina Pelletier was a seemingly healthy teenager performing jumps and spirals at a skating show and six weeks later, on Feb. 10, 2013, she was in the emergency room at Children's Hospital in Boston after a severe bout with the flu, refusing to eat and barely able to walk.

    Her parents, Lou and Linda Pelletier of West Hartford, Conn., say their daughter was diagnosed and being treated at Tufts Medical Center for mitochondrial disease, a rare genetic disorder with physical symptoms that can affect every part of the body. Justina's sister Jessica, 25, is also being treated for the disease.

    But three days later, a team of doctors at Boston Children's said her symptoms were psychosomatic, according to the family. The hospital then filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, as required by law, because they suspected the parents of child abuse for subjecting their daughter to invasive medical treatments and denying her mental health therapy. ... more [go.com]

    Pelletier Family Files Habeas Corpus Pleading, Points Out Disturbing Facts About Boston Children’s Hospital [michaelgraham.com]

    ... Among other things, the Petition also argues that the requirement to issue detailed written findings of fact and conclusions of law justifying DCF’s intervention has never been met. Never has the juvenile court issued such required findings of fact or conclusions of law.

    “This case comes down to the simple fact that new doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), who had no experience with Justina, came up with a different diagnosis than her expert treating physicians at Tufts Medical Center,” said Staver. “The state cannot take children from their parents when the parents make reasonable choices for their medical care. This case is outrageous,” said Staver. .... Justina has gone from a competitive figure skater to being confined to a wheelchair,” said Staver.

    Fourteen months ago, Justina, now fifteen years old, was seized by Massachusetts DCF after her parents, at the direction of Dr. Mark Korson, took her to Boston Children’s Hospital to see Dr. Alejandro Flores, a gastroenterologist who had previously treated Justina when he worked at Tufts Medical Center before he transferred to BCH. Dr. Korson, Chief of Metabolic Services at Tufts Medical Center, was Justina’s primary physician who was treating her for Mitochondrial disease. Instead of allowing Justina to see Dr. Flores, Justina saw Dr. Jurriaan Peters, a BCH resident only seven months out of medical school. He brought in Dr. Simona Bujoreanu, a psychologist who coauthored an article in which she contends that in up to 50% of children who present with physical complaints, the complaints are not physical but mental. Without consulting with Dr. Korson or Flores, Dr. Bujoreanu rendered a diagnosis of Somatoform disorder. Without a thorough review of her care, she opined that Justina’s physical complaints were mental, not physical. BCH then presented the family with a new treatment plan to discontinue all medical care and medications and which forbade any second opinions. When the parents refused to sign the new treatment plan and requested that Justina be discharged so they could take her back to Tufts Medical Center, BCH called DCF, and DCF prevented the family from discharging Justina

    • Everyone agrees that there is something wrong with the child.

      The problem is that the parents are fixated on a specific disease which clinical tests do not support. So instead of trying to find out what's really wrong with her, the parents went looking for another doctor who would give them the diagnosis they want [clevelandclinic.org]. Think about that.

      • Its great you have a theory, but two sisters having the same genetic disease wouldn't be shocking. If you read the ABC news story above you'll see that there is meaningful medical history there that can't be faked. You're assuming that the chief of metabolism at Tufts medical center is wrong, and that Boston Children's diagnosis, for which there is no diagnostic test, is right. And then there is the fact that Boston Children's apparently has a history of these sort of "contentious" actions as noted in t

    • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Friday April 25, 2014 @03:33PM (#46843733)

      I heard about it on the radio a couple of weeks ago. This case is an absolutely appalling abuse of power.

      I did some Googling on this case in since I hadn't yet heard about it. Found this article:
      http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]

      If it's true that the parents shopped around for doctors to perform surgeries, and had extreme surgeries carried out around mitochondrial disease with no diagnostic based diagnosis that raises a ton of red flags.

      If you're going to make your kid get a stomach shunt, you'd at least want to run a few tests first, no? It seems reasonable that the doctors would want to separate the child from her parents if they thought they were unreasonably subjecting their daughter to medical procedures. Worst case: Childrens runs the diagnostics that should have been run in the first place, finds evidence of mitochondrial disease, gives the child back, and there is no harm done. If the doctors are right? Then a child's health may have been destroyed for no reason.

      • She was confirmed with GI issues. The shunt, isn't extreme. It was an alternative to the proposition of removing a large portion of her intestines. (The more common treatment which has far greater life long consequences.)

        BCH refused to run the tests. They killed a five year old girl because they refused to. When her brother came with similar symptoms. They wanted to charge the mother. But finally ran a test. It confirmed mitochondrial disease, but they didn't tell the parents. Then a second lab confirmed th

        • She was confirmed with GI issues.

          Did she see a GI specialist? No.
          Were any actual diagnostic tests run? No.
          Was she verified to have mitochondrial disease as the source of these issues? Nope, even though such tests for it exists.
          Are there other medical issues that cause the same set of problems? Yep
          Do GI issues automatically imply she has mitochondrial disease? Hell to the no

          She could very well have mitochondrial disease. But at this point she basically has Schrodinger's Cat disease because her parents won't run any actual tests that exist f

    • by fermion (181285)
      The law says that if a abuse is suspected, it must be reported and investigation must occur. There is no abuse of state power if a child is taken away because there is significant indication that abuse occurs. The problem here is the medical profession. They do not nearly spend enough time admitting they most administer palliatives and in many cases just choose the obvious diagnosis without really checking if it makes sense. Patients are also to blame as they believe the media, which has convinced most o
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cold fjord (826450)

        No! What is going on at Boston Childre's is in no way reasonable. Please read the ABC News story. Does this seem "psychosomatic" to you?

        Justina's ordeal began in 2010, when she had severe cramps because of a stomach blockage, according to her father. Doctors at Connecticut Children's Hospital unsuccessfully tried to "flush" her lower intestinal tract and subsequently did exploratory surgery, he said. Doctors found a congenital band, about 20 inches of cartilage wrapped around her colon and removed that and the girl's appendix, he said.

        In 2011, when her condition did not improve, he said doctors referred Justina to Dr. Alejandro F. Flores, a gastroenterologist at Tufts.

        Does referral to a gastroenterologist seem "unreasonable" for a problems of the bowel and stomach??

        You don't suppose that the problem could be with Boston Children's? You might want to read this too:

        Frustration on all fronts in struggle over child’s future [bostonglobe.com]

        The abuse here is by Boston Children's in the form of an ultimatum: abandon the treatment plan from an expert

  • by jopet (538074) on Friday April 25, 2014 @02:38PM (#46843227) Journal

    Some probably adolescent script kiddies with an ego by far exceeding their intelligence try to play digital lynch mob.
    What pathetic little cunts.
    Not for the first time showing how much worse than individual stupidity their collective stupditiy can be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You have no idea. I ran with Anonymous before they became "hacktivists" (back when they were still doing POOL'S CLOSED, etc). Encyclopedia Dramatica had a picture of one of the raids on Habbo I participated in - I think the newer incarnation of it still does (I was the guy copy-pasting Clarence Carter's "Strokin'" over and over again). Back then, Anonymous raided PURELY to screw with people and get a reaction. It wasn't about activism, it wasn't about "changing things" or trying to fight perceived injustice

  • by BBF_BBF (812493) on Friday April 25, 2014 @02:56PM (#46843393)
    It's been a year now since Justina was removed from her parents.

    It should be painfully obvious if her health issues were as a result of her parents' psychological pressure since she hasn't been under their influence for over a year. So why don't any of the "advocates" fighting for the parents actually show us how Justina's doing now?

    If Justina is FINE now, then it would be quite obvious that the Doctors at the Boston Children's Hospital were correct. If she's still suffering from the same symptoms, then the parents have a much stronger case.
    • by Megol (3135005)

      So you think psychological problems just goes away like the flick of a switch? It doesn't. Many mental diseases are permanent and treatment just lessens the problems or make the symptom free periods longer.

      That includes the mental scars from abuse.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      She is not fine, in fact she is degrading. Her hair is falling out and she can no longer even walk.
    • by psm321 (450181) on Friday April 25, 2014 @03:37PM (#46843777) Journal
      They do... if you review any of the available information on the case it's obvious that she is both physically and psychologically much worse off now. Wheelchair-bound instead of ice-skating and smuggling notes begging to be taken out and saying "I feel like I'm in jail". BCH and the judge messed up (possibly with good intentions at first) and now are perpetuating their mistake to try to cover it up.
  • by Onuma (947856) on Friday April 25, 2014 @03:00PM (#46843431)
    If she were my child, there would be no way I would let them stop me from getting her back. If paperwork and appeals didn't do the trick, I would very quickly escalate the actions I took to ensure her safety and care under my responsibility. That might mean intimidation or violence...so be it. They threw the first stone.

    The State has absolutely no reason to take these parents' child from them.
    • by TC Wilcox (954812)

      If she were my child, there would be no way I would let them stop me from getting her back. If paperwork and appeals didn't do the trick, I would very quickly escalate the actions I took to ensure her safety and care under my responsibility. That might mean intimidation or violence...so be it. They threw the first stone. The State has absolutely no reason to take these parents' child from them.

      I agree with you that that The State had no reason to take the child, but be careful. The State views those that use violence against it as the most vile criminals and would not hesitate to have you thrown in prison. If you are in prison how can you help your child?

      • by Onuma (947856)
        I get that, but neither can you help your child if there is so much red tape binding your hands and so much bureaucratic process blocking the way.

        Violence is never the preferred answer...but when it IS the answer, there is no other substitute.
  • "The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

    Incidentally, an avalanche is generally considered a destructive force.

  • by Cobalt Jacket (611660) on Friday April 25, 2014 @03:27PM (#46843687)
    My son is a child with fragile health, and we associate with many other, similar families as a support mechanism. While I am not in the Boston area, we do know families that are there, and who frequent Boston Children's. One of them that we associate with let everyone in one of these support groups know that the patient scheduling system had been affected by the Anonymous operation, and so she was unable to schedule her son's surgery. Boston Children's needs to keep their clinical systems more protected, but the bottom line is that Anonymous is filled with grade-A assholes.
  • There have been some things I feel supportive of that 'anonymous' has done. Unfortunately they mostly inspire the desire for them to just go away due to their sheer incompetence. Their 'protests' tend to disproportionately affect the innocent. Some morons may whine it's just unavoidable collateral damage. No, no it isn't. For example, posting information about thousands of credit card users to attack the credit card company. Hey dumbass! You hurt thousands of people to mildly inconvenience a company. In the

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