Godzilla Attack or Road-Sign Hack?

Homeland Security warns that electronic billboards are vulnerable to hackers.

National Journal
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Alex Brown
June 5, 2014, 9:15 a.m.

If a road­side safety sign seems to be de­clar­ing an odd mes­sage, chances are it’s been hacked, the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment said Wed­nes­day.

That’s due to a se­cur­ity hole in one mod­el of the fre­quently used elec­tron­ic bill­boards. Ac­cord­ing to the DHS alert, the Dak­tron­ics Van­guard sys­tem uses a hard-coded pass­word, a uni­ver­sal lo­gin linked to an ad­min­is­trat­or ac­count and built in­to the pro­gram’s code.

The flaw has ap­par­ently be­come com­prom­ised. The alert warned of a vul­ner­ab­il­ity “that could al­low un­au­thor­ized ac­cess to the high­way sign.”

In re­cent weeks, signs have fea­tured warn­ings about a “GODZ­ILLA AT­TACK!” and a “HACK BY SUN HACK­ER.” Pre­vi­ous hacks have warned of nearby zom­bies.

THe DHS cy­ber­team says it is work­ing with Dak­tron­ics to fix the prob­lem and is re­com­mend­ing bet­ter net­work pro­tec­tions for the sys­tem.


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