Road signs are usually the target of hackers looking to get a little creative. They’ll hack into the road signs and put up messages about everything from zombie invasions to politically charged warnings. This time it was a private company that got hacked.
In May a hacker got into the billboard programming software of a company called Monumedia. They posted up an obscene image of a naked man (it gets worse than that, but for the purposes of this article let’s just say he was naked) on a billboard in Buckhead, Atlanta.
Shocking? Well, that’s what they’re going for.
As you may expect, some viewers were so upset by the image that they called the police. The police couldn’t really do anything about it other than try and find the owners and let them know they had to change the image.
The FBI was sent in to investigate and also determined that some other electronic LED signs owned by Yesco across the United States were also hacked.
As it turns out, security expert Dan Tentler has been trying to work with Yesco to secure their system as he has identified a clear loophole in their sign programming network that would allow this very incident. Yesco has turned him away.
Tentler has pointed out that Yesco, as well as many sign companies, use “cloud” software which keeps everything online, allowing their system to easily be hacked. Plus, they use very simplistic passwords that are easily bypassed.
Sunburst LED Signs has always steered clear of cloud software for several reasons. One biggie is how easy they are to be hacked. The last thing a business needs is a vulgar display from an immature hacker on the front of its building!
Of course, the other reason to not use cloud software is that you are tied to that company. If you bought your sign from Yesco, and they go out of business, your sign is now worthless. Or what if they get on board with the Microsoft way of doing business and decide to start charging you $500/month to use their cloud? Now that sign that you bought and paid for is worthless, unless you pay them an additional $500/month.
Do your research, protect your systems, and make sure you go with a sign that isn’t going to one day have a naked man on it disgusting your potential customers and getting you in legal trouble.