Northeastern University has found itself the victim of an unusual technology-related bomb attack. CNNreports that someone sent a bomb-like package to the Boston university’s virtual reality lab in Holmes Hall on September 13th, causing hand injuries to the man that opened the container. There were no indications of a greater threat, and the school resumed classes after determining the campus was secure.
The currently unidentified attacker appears to have a grudge against VR, and Meta in particular. CNN sources claimed the “rambling” note in the package slammed Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg as well as the links between academia and VR developers. There were no explosives in the container, one of the sources said. Instead, it depressurized with violent force. It also wasn’t mailed to the university.
After the incident on the Boston campus, multiple law enforcement agencies have determined that the campus is safe and secure. Classes, research, and all other campus activities have resumed today. The safety and well-being of our community is our most important priority.
— Northeastern U. (@Northeastern) September 14, 2022
While there has been limited damage, law enforcement is taking the case seriously. The FBI, which has been coordinating with local police, has offered the full help of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and other units for the investigation.
Meta has faced some criticism over its decision to rebrand and focus on the metaverse. It started shifting its attention to VR just as whistleblower Frances Haugen shared documents that she said highlighted Facebook’s failures in handling misinformation and other social media problems. VR may serve as a distraction from Meta’s shortcomings, in other words. Privacy and safety have also been concerns in VR. While it’s not clear the attacker had any of these issues in mind, there’s little doubt Meta’s approach to VR already had its detractors.