Epilepsy Foundation of America

Epilepsy Foundation of America was hacked in 2008

In 2008 users of 7chan.org hacked into the website of Epilepsy Foundation of America and replaced the support forum with flashing images and animations.

On March 28, 2008, Wired News reported that “Internet griefers”—a slang term for people whose only interests are in harassing others—assaulted an epilepsy support forum run by the Epilepsy Foundation of America. JavaScript code and flashing computer animations were posted to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics. According to Wired News, circumstantial evidence suggested that the attack was perpetrated by Anonymous users, with the initial attack posts on the epilepsy forum blaming eBaum’s World. Members of the epilepsy forum claimed they had found a thread in which the attack was being planned at 7chan.org, an imageboard that has been described as a stronghold for Anonymous. The thread, like all old threads eventually do on these types of imageboards, has since cycled to deletion.

RealTechNews reported that the forum at the United Kingdom-based National Society for Epilepsy was also subjected to an identical attack. It stated that “apparent members of Anonymous” had denied responsibility for both attacks and posted that it had been the Church of Scientology who carried them out. News.com.au reported that the administrators of 7chan.org had posted an open letter claiming that the attacks had been carried out by the Church of Scientology “to ruin the public opinion of Anonymous, to lessen the effect of the lawful protests against their virulent organization” under the Church’s fair game policy. The church has previously been involved in false flag operations to frame and discredit groups or peoples it disagrees with such as Operation Freakout and Gabe Cazares.

The Tech Herald reported that when the attack began, posts referenced multiple groups, including Anonymous. The report attributes the attack to a group named “The Internet Hate Machine” (a reference to the KTTV Fox 11 news report), who claim to be part of Anonymous, but are not the same faction that are involved in the campaign against Scientology. Some Anonymous participants of Project Chanology suggest that the perpetrators are Internet users who merely remained anonymous in the literal sense, and thus had no affiliation with the larger anti-Scientology efforts attributed to Anonymous. During an interview with CNN, Scientologist Tommy Davis accused Anonymous of hacking into the Epilepsy Foundation website to make it display imagery intended to cause epileptic seizures. Interviewer John Roberts contended the FBI said that it “found nothing to connect this group Anonymous (with these actions),” and that it also has “no reason to believe that these charges will be leveled against this group.” The response was that the matter was on the hands of local law enforcement and that there were ongoing investigations.