BOSTON (CBS) – Hackers are targeting the website of Boston Children’s Hospital and it’s causing big problems. People looking to donate are being locked out.
Mariellen Burns is hosting a fundraiser hoping to raise thousands of dollars for the hospital, but the timing couldn’t be worse. “Everything I’ve done is online, social media, emails, texts to friends,” she said.
Her inspiration for the fundraiser is her one year old son Jeremiah who had lifesaving surgery in December, and Burns wants to give something back. But it’s almost impossible to get into the Children’s website, or fundraising links like the one for Burns which takes you to an error page.
In a statement the hospital says, “Over the weekend and through today, Boston Children’s website has been the target of multiple attacks designed to bring down the site by overwhelming its capacity.”
While the hospital encourages donors to phone in or mail donations, Burns says it’s easier said than done. “I know I’m definitely going to lose some of that money in translation,” Burns says. “The thought of writing a check and mailing it, people don’t do it, and I don’t want to spend the evening at a table outside the door collecting envelopes.” Burns says donors feel more secure that the money is going right to Children’s when they use the website links.
A shadowy hacker network known as “Anonymous” may be behind it with its own agenda, protesting the handling of the Justina Pelletier case, the teen who spent months in the hospital’s psychiatric ward after Children’s accused her parents of abuse.
Barraging the website not only affects small fundraisers like Burns’, but even marathoners who ran for Children’s and are trying to reach their own fundraising goals.
Burns hopes the attack will in the end, be helpful. “This is a call for action for people to make more donations and stick it in the face of these idiots if someone did do this intentionally,” she said.
A twitter account linked to Anonymous is calling on “Anons” to halt the attacks, saying “It is a hospital: stop it.”
Children’s will only say law enforcement has been contacted to look into the source, and hopes to have the problem solved “as soon as possible”.
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