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acacius

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: January 29, 2009, 11:04:41 AM



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Construction signs warn
of zombies
Hackers change public safety message
Last Edited: Thursday, 29 Jan 2009, 9:25 AM CST
Created On: Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009, 8:29 PM CST

Shannon Wolfson
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of  "zombies ahead."

"I thought it was pretty funny," said University of Texas sophomore Jane Shin, who saw the signs while driving down Lamar Bouelvard with friends Sunday night. "We wondered who did it."

The City of Austin does not own the signs, but they are responsible for the message. The contractor on the construction project owns the signs. A city spokesperson said the hacked messages were only up for a few hours, until the construction project manager saw them during his morning commute and immediately ordered them to be changed back.

"Even though this may seem amusing to a lot of people, this is really serious, and it is a crime," said Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley. "And you can be indicted for it, and we want to make sure our traffic on the roadways stays safe."

Hartley said though it was a locked sign, the padlock for it was cut. Signs such as these have a computer inside that is password-protected.

"And so they had to break in and hack into the computer to do it, so they were pretty determined," said Hartley.

This crime is a class C misdemeanor in Texas, and Hartley said it endangers the public.

"The big problem is public safety," said Hartley. "Those signs are out there to help our traffic on the roadway to stay safe and to know what's coming up."

KXAN Austin News cameras caught many drivers slowing down to read the signs as they approached. Some read, "Zombies ahead! Run for your lives!"

Hartley said the city will discuss more secure safety measures with the manufacturer of the signs.

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/Road_signs_warn_of_zombies

JavaBuc

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#1 : January 29, 2009, 11:34:20 AM

That's great!

Dash Riprock

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#2 : January 29, 2009, 11:56:26 AM

Rod Argent and the boys, wondered what happened to them.

John Galt?

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#3 : January 29, 2009, 01:25:24 PM

The last paragraph is hilarious.


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Do you believe in zombies? Do you have a zombie escape plan? Let us know what you think about zombies by participating in our message board .


I also liked the "related videos" like, " KXAN couple has a Zombie Escape Plan?"


GhostRider

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#4 : January 29, 2009, 02:21:06 PM

According to reports, the city didn't know how to change them back.  They had to call the manufacture. 

Austin is the computer programming capital of the nation (world?).  There are some very good hackers at UT Austin.


bradentonian

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#5 : January 29, 2009, 04:49:29 PM

Funniest thing I've seen in a while, thanks for posting


Stratobuc

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#6 : January 30, 2009, 09:15:52 PM

Rod Argent and the boys, wondered what happened to them.

They're alive and well and living on the summer shed circuit.

BucFan9720

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#7 : February 02, 2009, 03:21:55 PM

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