Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have you checked your billboard today?

Times are over were just IT devices were a target for hacker attacks. Years ago I read an article in 2600 magazine describing how to hack traffic bill boards, the one's that have the bright orange LED type displays, making them display a random message. Now that art has been brought to a new level, adopting to the new display technology and a networked world. Last Thursday drivers on one of Moscow's (Russia) busiest roads were confronted with some porn clip that was flickering off a 30-foot-by-20-foot (aproximately 10m x 6.5m) size electronic billboard. This resulted in a major traffic jam since drivers slowed down to catch the "message" that the billboard was trying to convey. According to news article the advertising firm that owns the billboard stated that hackers had broken into their system and switched the content to the adult material.

The more our society is networked and technologies are melted together, the more we expose ourselves to such juvenile hoaxes. In the end this one had some people being upset and others with a smile on their faces but it also could have been a nuclear power plant's controls that suddenly show Pac-man instead of the controls for the reactor.

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