Sunday, February 8, 2009

Caution: Zombies - It Must Be A Sign

Caution: Zombies - It Must Be A Sign

In the last few weeks there has been an epidemic going on. A ZOMBIE epidemic! But before you board up your homes, gather weapons and raid any malls you should know where they're coming from.

First it was a spotting in Austin, Tx warning people that Zombies were ahead.
You can find the evidence all over the internet. Dustin Coates and Julie Montgomery were among dozens of people who captured road signs flashing, “Caution: zombies ahead, run for cold climates, the end is near!“ Signs on both sides of Lamar between MLK and 15th were altered some time Sunday.

"This is a first for us. We are new to this kind of thing,” said Sara Hartley, Public Works spokesperson.

Hartley says whoever did this cut the locks to the computer system and hacked in.

"While the content of what it was changed to was amusing to a lot of people we want to make sure that people understand it's a public safety hazard," said Hartley.

Zombies would invade Austin. Godless, bastard town full of Sodomites. This would be perfect if it was placed on a road close to Zilker Park during Austin City Limits. When you walk out of there you're already hung over, dirty as fuck and practically a zombie. And have you've ever been to South By South West? Paint the crowds green and you've already witness the Zombie mobs.

Fucking zombies, I got a ticket once because I didn't slow down to 45 before driving through a zombie area. NO ONE ELSE EVER SLOWS DOWN geeze!

I guess I would suggest that Austin is quite possibly the most prepared city in the country for a Zombie Apocalypse. Why you ask? They have all of the following:

*A well armed, yet liberal minded population.
*4 indoor shopping malls conveniently located around the city.
*Law enforcement trained in herding large gatherings of inebriated people.
*Easygoing populace makes forming "loose-knit band of survivors" simple. Just stand in the middle of an street and yell "Who want's to form a loose-knit band of survivors?" and 20 people will be there in seconds.
*Huge number of aspiring filmakers who have studied every zombie movie made in hopes of being the next Tobe Hooper or Robert Rodriguez.
*Alamo Drafthouse located there. Few entrances that are easily barricaded, large supply of movies to watch, industrial sized kitchen, plenty of alcohol for drinking/molitovs, etc.

Then the zombies showed up on the road signs in the grand ol' corrupt Illinois
COLLINSVILLE, Illinois - Pranksters in at least three states are messing with electronic road signs meant to warn motorists of possible traffic problems by putting drivers on notice about Nazi zombies and raptors. And highway safety officials aren't amused.

The latest breach came Tuesday during the morning rush hour near Collinsville, Ill., where hackers changed a sign along southbound Interstate 255 to read, "DAILY LANE CLOSURES DUE TO ZOMBIES."

A day earlier in Indiana's Hamilton County, the electronic message on a board in Carmel's construction zone warned drivers of "RAPTORS AHEAD — CAUTION."

And signs in Austin, Texas, recently flashed: "NAZI ZOMBIES! RUN!!!" and "ZOMBIES IN AREA! RUN."

Officials in Illinois are concerned the rewritten signs distract motorists from heeding legitimate hazards down the road. The hacked sign on Tuesday originally warned drivers of crews replacing guardrails.

"We understood it was a hoax, but at the same time those boards are there for a reason," said Joe Gasaway, an Illinois Department of Transportation supervisory field engineer. "We don't want (drivers) being distracted by a funny sign."

Authorities haven't figured out how pranksters access the signs. Gasaway believes the Illinois sign was changed remotely, and Austin Public Works spokeswoman Sara Hartley suspected the hackers there cut a padlock to get into the signs' computers.

Some Web sites, such as, have published tutorials titled "How to Hack an Electronic Road Sign" as a way to alert security holes to traffic-safety officials. Jalopnik urges its readership of 2.6 million a month not to put its lesson to practice.

"Hacking generally is about showing where there are holes in security systems, and I think this is a great example of that," the site's editor-in-chief, Ray Wert, told The Associated Press by telephone Wednesday. "I'm sure there are all sorts of ways to use that information in a way that's inappropriate, but we're trying to make clear this is an issue that needs to be confronted by traffic safety and transportation officials."

Wert said he had no immediate plans to take down Jalopnik's how-to guide.

In Illinois, tampering with an official traffic control device is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $250 fine — half what a culprit might have to pay in Texas if caught. If convicted in Indiana, a culprit faces up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
They had to deal with political craziness for a while now, I can only imagine that a Zombie situation will be a piece of cake to them. Let's be honest, there's already the zombie mentality for Chicago fans who follow the Cubs. What a bunch of losers!

So the big question is how are they doing this? It's really very simple and whenever I hear people call others "Hackers" for things like this, a little part of me dies inside. This isn't hacking. This is a simple prank. You don't need all that high tech information to do this. All you need to do is learn how to type on a glorified speak and spell. Hell, there was talk at the last defcon about billboard hacking.

This is the ADDCO portable sign. Today, you see what is on the inside, and how they are programmed to display important information.

1. The access panel on the sign is generally protected by a small lock, but often are left unprotected. Upon opening the access panel you can see the display electronics.

2. The black control pad is attached by a curly cord, with a keyboard on the face.

3. Programming is as simple as scrolling down the menu selection to “Instant Text”. Type whatever you want to display, Hit Enter to submit. You can now either throw it up on the sign by selecting “Run w/out save” or you can add more pages to it by selecting “Add page”

** TIP ** Should it will ask you for a password. Try “DOTS”, the default password.

In all likelihood, the crew will not have changed it. However if they did, never fear. Hold “Control” and “Shift” and while holding, enter “DIPY”. This will reset the sign and reset the password to “DOTS” in the process. You’re in!

If you're not brave enough to break the law, you can always look at these regular signs being "hacked" by others and laugh.

Now you may be asking if this sort of pranks are ever a good idea. Those road signs are there to tell motorist important information like if a Left lane is closing ahead or that they should buckle up. I think it was worth the sacrifice simply because in one of the news stories about this CNN asked DO YOU HAD A ZOMBIE ESCAPE PLAN. I have to simply wonder, Do you?

Apparently only 56% of us have a plan. 22% don't have a plan, and 20% don't believe. By my math, there's 2% missing? Maybe those are just the first to get turned.

Also, you missed the section below the poll. "Your guide to the undead". For those of you who are looking for 'research' projects, the last one listed points to No, I haven't gone there to see how good/bad it is.

And if you haven't been played out on all the zombie stuff so far, you can always read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.
Oddly enough, I could see Colin Firth in a zombie film. As much as I hated the Keira Knightley version, she at least had the thin zombie look going.

So I think all this should meet your zombie quota. Hell, with a new Walking Dead issue coming out this week, I think you'll have more than your fill of Zombie to choose from.

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