Kurt Eichenwald is a senior writer at Newsweek magazine and renowned author of various best-selling books, including The Informant. Mr. Eichenwald reportedly suffers from epilepsy and one of his cyber stalkers found out about his disease. In December John Rayne Rivello, a 29-year-old man from Maryland sent Mr. Kurt an animated image with calculated colors and flashing light on Twitter. The picture caused a seizure, as per planned. A case was filed against John and recently, he has been charged with criminal cyberstalking.
His offense can cause him face a 10-year sentence. His activity on the internet was quite concerning; he wrote “You deserve a seizure for your post,” to Mr. Kurt. Investigators revealed that John has been planning to virtually attach Mr. Kurt for quite some time.
At one instance, he even said, “Let’s see if he dies,” referring to Mr. Eichenwald. Upon investigating his phone and internet usage, investigators found out that he had searched about epilepsy seizure triggers on epilepsy.com.
Moreover, they even found a screenshot of Mr. Eichenwald’s Wikipedia page on his iCloud that showed his date of death 16th of December; a day after the picture was sent. The motive behind the attack is still unknown but it is said that John Rayne wasn’t fond ot Mr. Eichenwald’s anti-Trump tweets.
Mr. Eichenwald’s lawyer, Steven Lieberman, compared the attack to a bomb sent in the mail; he said, “It is no different than a bomb sent in the mail or anthrax sent in an envelope. It triggered a physical effect.” Mr. Kurt suffered from seizures for several weeks after the attack.
Upon asking a professor of neurophysiology at Aston University, Stefano Seri, whether this was possible or not, the professor answered that it certainly was possible but the tweet must have been created really carefully. He said, “Abrupt changes in light intensity, or luminance, can trigger seizures. The most sensitive range is about 15-25 flashes per second.”