Two Federal Criminal Convictions for Cyberattacks

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The month of August saw two federal criminal convictions of individuals involved in significant cyberattacks.

In Boston, a federal jury convicted Martin Gottesfeld of one count of conspiracy to intentionally damage a protected computer and one count of intentional damage to protected computers. The charges resulted from 2014 Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks on Boston Children’s Hospital and Wayside Youth and Family Support Network. The indictment of Gottesfeld asserted that the damages from the DDOS attack cost Children’s Hospital more than $300,000 in response and mitigation costs and another $300,000 in lost donations due to the fact that the DDOS attack disabled the Hospital’s fundraising portal. After a seven day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on both counts submitted to it. Sentencing of Mr. Gottesfeld is currently scheduled for November 14 before United States District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton. Gottesfeld faces up to 15 years in prison.

In Atlanta, Georgia, a federal jury convicted Olayinka Olaniyi, a citizen of Nigeria, of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of computer fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The charges resulted from a series of fraudulent phishing emails delivered to employees of Georgia Tech and other colleges in the United States which, if opened, allowed the conspirators to obtain the employees’ username and password for the colleges’ computer network and employee payroll system. The stolen usernames and passwords were then used to unlawfully access the colleges’ computer networks to change employee direct deposit bank account information and thereby misdirect employee payroll deposits into accounts controlled by the cybercriminals. After a three day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all four counts submitted to it. Sentencing of Mr. Olaniyi is currently scheduled for October 22, 2018, before United States District Judge Steve C. Jones. Olaniyi’s co-defendant, Damilola Solomon Ibiwoye, previously pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced in January 2018 to three years three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

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