Monday, 26 June, 2017

Salisbury man arrested on federal cyberstalking charges

FBI Arrests Man Who Allegedly Used Twitter To Cause Seizure Of Newsweek Writer Twitter Troll Arrested For Allegedly Tweeting Seizure-Inducing Strobe GIF At Journalist
Craig Ferguson | 19 March, 2017, 00:09

John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Md. was arrested after the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined he sent a flashing image along with the message "You deserve a seizure for your post" to Newsweek senior writer and Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald on Twitter on Dec 15.

The FBI arrested John Rayne Rivello, 29, of Salisbury, Maryland, on Friday on charges of cyberstalking, the agency said in a statement released Friday.

On Dec. 15, Twitter user @jew_goldstein tweeted at Eichenwald, who has previously written about being epileptic, a strobing GIF with text reading: "You deserve a seizure for your posts".

An affidavit filed with the complaint said that a search of Rivello's Twitter account showed he had sent other messages about Eichenwald saying "I know he has epilepsy" and "I hope this sends him into a seizure".

It is believed Eichenwald's criticism of US President Donald Trump provoked the cyber attack.

In a Tweet Friday, Eichenwald said 40 people sent him messages containing the strobe once they learned of its effects and called on people to "stop sending them". Upon opening the message, he immediately suffered a seizure.

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Rivello's icloud account contained a screenshot of Mr Eichenwald's Wikipedia page which had been doctored to show a fake obituary with the date of death listed as 16 December 2016 - the day after the strobe image was sent.

Following the Tweet, a person purporting to be Eichenwald's wife responded to the troll from the 55-year-old writer's account, telling him the GIF had succeeded in causing an episode and that she'd contacted the police. In 1997, for example, a Pokémon episode was said to have sent almost 700 Japanese children to the hospital. Eichenwald claims the tweet triggered an epileptic seizure. The flashing tweet gave the journalist a seizure.

Steven Lieberman, Eichenwald's attorney, compared the online attack to someone sending a bomb or anthrax in the mail.

Kurt Eichenwald tweeted Friday morning thanking law enforcement agencies for their work in the case. He said that their "identifying information" was with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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".

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