Hackers Bomb Discord Servers With Images So Graphic They Put University Of California Students In The Hospital: REPORT

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Hackers invaded Discord channels used by the University of California, Irvine (UCI) students and deposited videos so graphic that some of the students were hospitalized, a local news outlet reported Tuesday.

The hacking, which began at about 9:00 p.m. Jan. 9, involved “very disturbing gore” and affected nearly 3,000 students, instructors and alumni across 30 of the university’s 500 channels, The Orange County Register reported. The attackers reportedly invaded through the groups’ “open access feature” and progressed for four days before student managers of the channels identified the attackers and shut down the attacks.

“Some things I’ve seen I definitely cannot unsee,” Alina Kim, one of Discord channels’ managers who helped to respond to the attacks told the outlet. “Some individuals were reportedly hospitalized with vomiting, panic attacks, traumatic responses. This is something that has real psychological effects.”

The hackers reportedly demanded the students ransom their channels from another month of further attacks for $1,000. Kim told The Orange Register she considered the ransom amount a joke.

Kim and other UCI Discord managers reportedly created a private Discord group to plan a response to the attack. They broke into the hackers’ Discord group and grabbed the user IDs of all 400 accounts linked to the attack. Using a Discord bot developed by UCI biomedical engineering student Vietbao Tran, the managers then automatically blocked the hackers from all the university’s groups, the Register reported. (RELATED: Aircraft Manufacturer Faces Cybersecurity Crisis As Hackers Demand Ransom, Threaten To Release Sensitive Data)

The hackers had boasted online about hitting another West Coast university back in October 2023, Kim and the other responders reportedly found. Believing the hackers were seeking publicity, Kim and other responders decided against publishing the hackers’ identities, according to the Register.

“[W]e do know is that one of the groups was an alt-right transphobic hate group,” Kim told CBS News.

Washington State University and the University of Southern California are among other universities affected by the cyberattack, with the attacks continuing for nearly a month in some cases, CBS News reported.

The UCI students reported the attack to UCI police, who intend to forward the complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, CBS News noted. UCI reportedly offered counseling and cybersecurity to its affected students.