Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests man who sent seizure-inducing tweet to journalist

Adjust Comment Print

Eichenwald also said on his Twitter Friday that more than 40 people sent messages to him trying to provoke seizures after the incident.

Additional news outlets have also confirmed the arrest was made this morning through Federal Bureau of Investigation spokespersons.

Eichenwald, who has contributed to Vanity Fair and Newsweek, has written openly about his epilepsy. Eichenwald had just appeared on Fox News Channel's "Tucker Carlson Tonight" where he discussed some of the negative tweets he had posted about President Donald Trump including his unsubstantiated claim that Trump was in a mental hospital in 1990.

Meanwhile, Newsweek identified the suspect as John Rivello, who was arrested early Friday at his residence in Salsbury, Maryland. Immediately upon opening the message, Eichenwald reportedly suffered a seizure. Eichenwald said in court documents that the animation triggered a seizure.

He had also researched epilepsy seizure triggers on the epilepsy.com website.

"What [this person] did with his Twitter message was no different from someone sending a bomb in the mail", Mr Eichenwald's lawyer said. The FBI hasn't issued a press release regarding the arrest as of publication time, and a spokesperson hasn't responded with additional information yet either.

Hagee said the FBI can not comment on ongoing investigations, but Eichenwald tweeted that the agency has details of the other cases of strobes and urged those people to "stop sending them".

Vivek Krishnamurthy, an assistant director at Harvard Law School's Cyber Clinic, told the Times that while some online attacks are aimed at affecting an electrical grid or gain control of air traffic controls, Eichenwald's attack was "distinguishable because it is a targeted physical attack that was personal, using a plain-Jane tool". You may joke to your mates that a flashing light or strobing animation gave you epilepsy. And about a decade ago, hackers descended on an epilepsy-support message board with flashing animations and triggered headaches and seizures in some users.

"It wasn't the content of the communication that was meant to persuade somebody or make them feel badly about themselves", Lieberman told Newsweek.

Eichenwald said on Friday the suspect faces federal charges and is expected to be indicted by the Dallas District Attorney in the next few days.

Comments