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Electric Signs

Highway Messageboards Hacked



Motorists driving along Miami, FL’s Palmetto Expressway were recently greeted with the messages “No Latinos” and “No Tacos” on a digital messageboard at a construction site.
It was reported around 5 a.m., and disconnected and repaired around 6 a.m. Crews returned the sign to its intended message that warned motorists that Northwest 25th St. would be closed for a while, the Miami Herald reported.
A driver reported the fake message to the Florida Dept. of Transportation. The messageboard is owned by Illinois-based Highway Technologies Inc., which rented the signs to the construction company, the De Moya Group. Because the sign can only be programmed onsite, the culprit probably sneaked into the construction area. Each sign has a control box with a keyboard in the back that can be accessed with a password. A hacker could simply walk up, punch in the password and type in a message. The highway crew onsite first turned the sign around, because they couldn’t access the programming code, before the intended message was restored.
Other messageboards in South Florida were checked to ensure they hadn’t been hacked. If caught, the hacker or hackers could be charged with criminal mischief and trespassing.
Digital construction-site signs have been frequently hacked. A sign in Texas had been hacked to read “Caution! Zombies Ahead!”



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