TxDOT contractor's signs flash 'Zombie Alert' in Austin
By David Fierce
According to a recent police report, people who were driving their cars in the vicinity of the University of Texas on Monday morning could see two hacked road signs. The two digital indicators warned drivers about “zombies” which were wandering in the area.
It seems that the man, who breached into the control panel of the signs, outputted messages like "Caution! Zombies Ahead." The messages made many motorists slow down and take pictures of the digital signs. Authorities reported that traffic safety was put at risk due to the shock that the messages generated.
In a press conference, local law enforcers stated that they have a suspect list. However, the officials believe that the man who took control of the digital signs must be a computer expert, as the panels are password and encryption protected. Still, it looks like the hacker managed to get through the password protection and managed to input no less than five different messages about zombies.
According to the company that manufactured the digital signs, a tech team will come in the area in order to repair the damage and erase the zombie-related messages. Spokesperson at the company also stressed that they will take all the necessary steps in order to improve the security of the digital road panels.
According to the authorities, no other similar cases have been yet reported in the surrounding areas, but it now seems that some people have just found some toys to play with.
© 2009 Eflux Media: www.efluxmedia.com
Austin road sign warns motorists of zombies
BY DAN X. McGRAW
The Dallas Morning
An Austin road sign meant to warn motorists about road conditions instead read: "The end is near! Caution! Zombies ahead!"
Vandals broke off a lock on the sign in central Austin early Monday and then hacked into the computer to change the words, said Sara Hartley, a city spokeswoman.
When they were done, the sign read: “The end is near! Caution! Zombies ahead! Run for cold climate!”
Before leaving, the vandals reset the password so the city could not easily change the sign. The sign's humorous warning stayed up for several hours before the manufacturer of the computer could reset the password.
Austin officials aren’t taking the spoof lightly, noting it is a criminal act.
“The sign’s content was humorous, but the act of changing it wasn’t,” Hartley said.
Austin police are investigating the situation, and the vandals could face a Class C misdemeanor charge of tampering with a road sign, Hartley said.
It is the first time Hartley said she has had heard of the stunt.
© 2009 The Dallas Morning News: www.dallasnews.com
Nazi Zombies! Run!!! (TxDOT is Not Amused)
The Texas Department of Transportation isn't laughing at the ghoulish warning that appeared on an Austin traffic sign.
Someone altered the digital sign to warn drivers to "run" from the "zombies ahead."
"The end is near!!!!!!!!!" the sign exclaimed. "Caution! Zombies ahead!!!"
"Run for cold climates," the sign instructed motorists.
While some people found it funny, TxDOT says the signs are there to display traffic information.
The department is now trying to figure out who hacked into its digital road sign system.
© 2009 MSNBC: www.msnbc.msn.com
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