How Boston Children's Hospital Hit Back at Anonymous

Hackers purportedly representing Anonymous hit Boston Children's Hospital with phishing and DDoS attacks this spring. The hospital fought back with vigilance, internal transparency and some old-fashioned sneakernet. That – and a little bit of luck – kept patient data safe.

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On March 20, Dr. Daniel J. Nigrin, senior vice president for information services and CIO at Boston Children's Hospital, got word that his organization faced an imminent threat from Anonymous in response to the hospital's diagnosis and treatment of a 15-year-old girl removed from her parent's care by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The hospital's incident response team quickly convened. It prepared for the worst: "Going dark" – or going completely offline for as long as the threat remained.

Luckily, it never came to that. Attacks did occur, commencing in early April and culminating on Easter weekend – also the weekend of Patriot's Day, a Massachusetts holiday and the approximate one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings – but slowed to a trickle after, of all things, after a front-page story about the incident ran in The Boston Globe.

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