Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer

Discussion in 'General' started by illuztrious, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. illuztrious

    illuztrious

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    Internet griefers descended on an epilepsy support message board last weekend and used JavaScript code and flashing computer animation to trigger migraineheadaches and seizures in some users.

    The nonprofit Epilepsy Foundation, which runs the forum, briefly closed the siteSunday to purge the offending messages and to boost security.

    "We are seeing people affected," says Ken Lowenberg, senior director of web and print publishing at the Epilepsy Foundation. "It'sfortunately only a handful. It's possible that people are just not reporting yet -- people affected by it may not be coming back to the forum sofast."

    The incident, possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims, began Saturday, March 22, when attackers used a script to posthundreds of messages embedded with flashing animated gifs.

    The attackers turned to a more effective tactic on Sunday, injecting JavaScript into some posts that redirected users' browsers to a page with a morecomplex image designed to trigger seizures in both photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics.

    RyAnne Fultz, a 33-year-old woman who suffers from pattern-sensitive epilepsy, says she clicked on a forum post with a legitimate-sounding title on Sunday.Her browser window resized to fill her screen, which was then taken over by a pattern of squares rapidly flashing in different colors.

    Fultz says she "locked up."

    "I don't fall over and convulse, but it hurts," says Fultz, an IT worker in Coeur d'Alene, Ohio. "I was on the phone when ithappened, and I couldn't move and couldn't speak."

    After about 10 seconds, Fultz's 11-year-old son came over and drew her gaze away from the computer, then killed the browser process, she says.

    "Everyone who logged on, it affected to some extent, whether by causing headaches or seizures," says Browen Mead, a 24-year-old epilepsy patientin Maine who says she suffered a daylong migraine after examining several of the offending posts. She'd lingered too long on the pages trying to determinewho was responsible.

    Circumstantial evidence suggests the attack was the work of members of Anonymous, an informal collective of griefers best known for their recent war on theChurch of Scientology. The first flurry of posts on the epilepsy forum referenced the site EBaumsWorld, which is much hated by Anonymous. And forum membersclaim they found a message board thread -- since deleted -- planning the attack at 7chan.org, a group stronghold.

    Fultz says the attack spawned an uncommonly bad seizure. "It was a spike of pain in my head," she says. "And the lockup, that only happenswith really bad ones. I don't think I've had a seizure like that in about a year."

    But she's satisfied with the Epilepsy Foundation's relatively fast response to the attack, about 12 hours after it began on Easter weekend. "Weall really appreciate them for giving us this forum and giving us this place to find each other," she says.

    Epilepsy affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide, about 3 percent of whom are photosensitive, meaning flashing lights and colors can triggerseizures.

    You guys didn't have anything to do with this, right?
     
  2. kdwallace

    kdwallace

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    Imaginitive but that is seriously cruel. You'd have to be pretty low to stoop to causing ill people to get sick over the internet.

    Guess they gave up on Scientology then?
     
  3. dajoka004

    dajoka004

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    Geez. It's only going to get worse.
     
  4. roscoe p wallace

    roscoe p wallace

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. quik1987

    quik1987 Banned

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    It's really nothing to laugh about. Someone needs to slap these kids with their keyboards.
     
  6. notoriouspat

    notoriouspat

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    looks like someone was trying to top the HT fiasco
     
  7. stringer bell 32

    stringer bell 32

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    very sad

    [​IMG]
     
  8. cardo ln

    cardo ln Banned

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    That is not cool. I'm epileptic.
     
  9. czur1127

    czur1127

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    Dammm
     
  10. much respected

    much respected

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    I always wondered if it was possible to kill someone by having a loud and high enough pitch that makes their brain explode.
     
  11. kicks off

    kicks off

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. vintagefits

    vintagefits

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  13. guillermo gutierez

    guillermo gutierez

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    i used to have a pic on my computer saved for use incase people made a stupid post. but i never used it just in case somebody actually got hurt.

    i told my computer illiterate mom never to look in the My Pictures folder cuz i had a pic. in there that might kill her. she complied. [​IMG]

    i just aint want her to see some of the scantily clad tenderonies in my folder. [​IMG]
     
  14. onlysomejordans

    onlysomejordans

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    Thats messed up. But in all seriousness when I read the title I snickered knowing I shouldn't have because the first thing that came to my head is thatseizure .gif with the crazy colors.
     
  15. okiedoqui

    okiedoqui

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] @ coming up with the idea of that. Those guys are serious *%#+!$%! whoever they are.
     
  16. dirtylicious

    dirtylicious Administrator

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    that's not "hackers"....those are trolls.
     
  17. sno nuff

    sno nuff

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  18. ohyeah10

    ohyeah10

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    thats pretty funny and also very sad
     
  19. guillermo gutierez

    guillermo gutierez

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    [​IMG] spoken like a true Forum Administrator

     
  20. sole leisure

    sole leisure

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