Over the weekend, Austin, TX drivers received some important warnings from their road signs about the impending zombie invasion. And the hackers who did it may know something we don't about the undead.
The road signs, which normally warn drivers about traffic conditions, displayed these warnings: "Zombies ahead . . . the end is near . . . run for cold climates!" Some signs also warned of Nazi zombies. While city officials claimed to FOX News that the tampering could lead to jail time, nobody is going to get in trouble for warning the world about zombies. The company that owns the signs, Sterling Construction, would have to file a complaint with police for any legal action to be taken. Sterling owner Wayne Haggard told local KVUE-TV, "It's Austin. We have a sense of humor. Let it go."
Though Austin officials claim that an act of direst hacking was required to tamper with the signs, sign-hackers say that isn't true. Most of these signs, including the ones owned by Sterling, have a default password. Anyone can walk up to the sign, type the default into the control panel, and reprogram it.
There is a reason why some say default passwords are a hacker's best friend. However, I would argue that our pranksters haven't really done an impressive hack until they've either brute forced a non-default password, or figured out a way to route internet traffic through the signs. Come back to me with your "sign hacking" when you've turned one of these road signs into a zombie computer, OK? That way, instead of flashing "Zombies ahead!" the sign would flash its normal message but send the "Zombies ahead" warning to your iPhone.
Not that I am advocating anything unlawful. I am just trying to suggest a better zombie warning system.
Dallas News (with clip from KVUE-TV of the signs)