Web-site hacking has reached a new low, both morally and technically.
Unknown miscreants had a good time two weekends ago when they posted hundreds of flashing animated images onto discussion boards hosted by the Landover, Md.-based Epilepsy Foundation.
Flashing lights or bold moving patterns can trigger often violent seizures among 3 percent of the estimated 50 million epileptics worldwide.
"I was on the phone when it happened, and I couldn't move and couldn't speak," RyAnne Fultz, who has epilepsy, told Wired News about her reaction to viewing one of the images on March 23.
Fultz's 11-year-old son walked over and closed the browser window after about 10 seconds. Fortunately, she suffered nothing more than a bad headache.
By then, the second day of vandalism on EpilepsyFoundation.org, the jerks had moved on to hijacking the browsers of anyone who clicked on certain forum posts, filling the screens with bright, flashing colors.
The Epilepsy Foundation shut off the discussion board on Sunday for about 12 hours, and the attacks stopped.
"This was clearly an act of vandalism with the intent to harm people," said Eric R. Hargis, the foundation's president and CEO in a statement released Monday.
However, it doesn't seem to have been the first instance. A Texas-based discussion Web site called Coping With Epilepsy said it suffered a similar attack last November.