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Saturday, March 29th 2008

Hackers Attack Epilepsy Site

A week ago hackers attacked an Epilepsy Foundation online forum and directed visitors computers to seizure inducing patterns of flashing lights.

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

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

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 it happened, 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.

This is, based on the actual physical nature of the attack, one of the worst hacks ever if the report is accurate. A terrible tale and these guys should go to jail under some kind’ve assault statute if there’s any justice and serve non-consecutive time for illegally accessing the forum as well.

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