IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Hackers last week attacked online forums used by UC Irvine students and teachers, posting gruesome videos portraying the desecration of human corpses and mutilation of animals.
An estimated 3,000 users of Discord groups affiliated with UCI are believed to have been exposed to the disturbing content. The images were so extreme that they may have even landed some UCI students in the hospital.
"I know there were a couple instances of students who were actually hospitalized due to excessive vomiting," says Alina Kim, who manages several of the Discord servers. "I know there's a lot of us who lost sleep over this."
Kim says the cyberattack happened Jan. 9. It flooded the groups with pop-ups and caused academic disruption.
"A lot of people rely on these servers for class communications, group projects," Kim said.
A UC Irvine spokesperson told Eyewitness News the school does not oversee the Discord servers or the activity in them, and that they're student-run.
Kim says it's likely the attackers purchased a student's login information to access the servers. She said the hackers demanded $1,000 in ransom.
"One club deleted their entire discord, we made one poor bastard vomit and the entire discord network is being locked down," the hackers said in a message after demanding the ransom.
Kim says she is working with other server managers, hoping to find who's behind the attack.
"They seem to have moved on to just targeting schools at this point, we think indiscriminately, just because they're on a roll and they're doing it for the attention, we think," Kim says.