Attack on epilepsy Web site prompts migraines, near seizures

Hacker tries to trigger seizures by posting hundreds of flashing images on Epilepsy Foundation site.

Someone posted hundreds of flashing images and links to more pulsating images on the Epilepsy Foundation site, triggering severe migraines and near seizures for some visitors recently, the Associated Press reports.

The recent attack was likely designed to cause seizures given that it is common knowledge that exposure to flickering images, such as those in video games and cartoons, can bring on such problems in people with photosensitive epilepsy, the foundation said.

Hackers exploited a security hole in the site's publishing software that allowed them to make numerous posts quickly in the support forum. Since the attack, policies have been changed so that visitors can't post animated images or create direct links to other sites, the report says. The FBI also is investigating the matter.

Web site attackers have also targeted the blind, releasing malicious code earlier this year that disabled text-to-speech software used by Web sites for the visually impaired. Researchers believe that attack was designed to cripple computers running illegal copies of the software.

Last month, in a separate attack involving political sites, someone exploited a weakness in Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama's Web site and redirected visitors to the community blogs section on rival Hillary Clinton's site.

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.


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