Hackers attack epileptic forum and make sufferers convulse

By Mark O’Neill

epilepticbrain.jpgIn what is being described as the first attack over the internet to cause immediate direct physical harm, hackers have caused an unknown number of epileptic sufferers to suffer seizures by hacking into an epileptic support forum and leaving flashing animation screens.

The flashing screens, made with javascript code, would then adversely affect those suffering from pattern-sensitive epilepsy or photo-sensitive epilepsy (I also suffer from a strain of it). This means that if the eyes are exposed to rapidly flashing lights for a prolonged period of time, the brain reacts violently and sends the body into a seizure. The risk becomes even higher if the flashing lights are in a darkened room such as a nightclub or a cinema (you may have seen cinemas warning epileptics about strobe lighting in movies)

Circumstantial evidence has responsibility pointing to a group that seemingly has a beef with scientologists (Edit: After further investigation, we believe that the culprits were not who everybody though to be responsible at first… everybody points their finger at everybody else, and it’s not our position to determine who did it. Please note that WIRED, which usually is a reliable news source, reported the story first). But it’s one thing to have an argument with a religious cult. It’s quite another thing to target a group of people with a medical disability and provoke traumatic and terrible seizures in their head.

I am trying to be impartial about this but being a fellow epilepsy sufferer myself, I am shaking at the moment with deep anger. I am currently going round several other epilepsy support groups online that I am involved with to see if anything has been going on there as well.    Is this a co-ordinated attack or a one-off deal?    It’s essential to know.

Who in their right mind gets off on making people convulse uncontrollably? If they could just realize for a moment what a seizure actually involves and if they were to experience one themselves, they wouldn’t be so cavalier about inflicting that hurt on others.

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