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U.S. Warns Against Road Sign Hacks Following Godzilla Prank

by Fox Van Allen on June 09, 2014

Daktronics Road Sign in Colorado

Road signs are becoming popular hacking targets by pranksters,
putting motorists and construction workers at risk of accident.

The U.S. government is warning states, municipalities, and other operators of electronic road signs to tighten security following a series of hacks warning motorists of Godzilla attacks and other fictional threats, Reuters is reporting.

Last month, an electronic road sign in San Francisco was altered to warn drivers of an active threat by movie monster Godzilla. Similar attacks have happened across the country over the last few years, with motorists in Austin being warned of a zombie outbreak and drivers in Boston asked to aid a man “trapped in sign factory.”

The Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team notes that details on how to hack road signs from company Daktronics have been posted online, giving hackers the tools necessary to pull similar pranks. Operators have been advised to “review sign messaging, update access credentials and harden communication paths to the signs.”

Warning about Godzilla attacks may seem like a harmless stunt, but these incidents are major distractions to drivers, causing slowdowns as people look and take photographs. And since many of these signs are in construction zones, distracted driving can put road workers’ safety at risk. 

[Road sign installation via Colorado DOT]


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