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Hacked Road Signs Answered

This may be one of the greatest pranks I've heard of in a while.

We see them everywhere these days, digital signs by the side of the road telling us about road conditions or that we should prepare to stop or that our local bridge might be closed next Tuesday from noon to midnight. And if you're like me, you've always just assumed that the message on the signs is legitimate and properly authorized.

But what if the sign, instead of reading something like "Ice Ahead" was flashing the message, "Zombies Ahead"?

It's true that in San Francisco or a few other cities, such a sign could be put up by local transportation officials to warn people of an impending zombie march, but even in those places, the more likely explanation would be that the sign was hacked.

And if you're in the Boston area and saw signs hacked in this way, there's always a decent chance it was done by students from MIT.

According to the blog i-hacked.com, some programmable road signs are easily messed with, largely because they often have unlocked instrument panels, a text-entry system that is easily accessed, and are often protected with uncomplicated, or unchanged default passwords.

That's some of the text from an article on cnet, here. I love what the hackers did with the text. :-)


i saw this on google reader yesterday and I was thinking, who would do such a thing cuz its not like those things are there just to say hi

Yeah, I agree with you. See my response to goodhart.

As long as said hack does not endanger lives....

Haha, yeah that could be bad. Sometimes there's really important info on some of those signs. On the other hand, I've seen them sitting idle on the side of the road before.