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Officials trying to stop hackers from breaking into electronic road signs

Caution: Road work ahead. Road Closed: Please follow alternate route. Caution: Zombies ahead. Wait a second! One of these things does not belong. If you were driving in Oklahoma, you probably could’ve picked out the message that stuck out like a sore thumb. The hacker that got into the transportation department’s system to display that message got a laugh, but here in Pennsylvania, officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation aren’t taking the jokes lightly.

“Godzilla approaching, things like that somebody finds funny, but in the big picture, you’re tampering with government property” said Fritzi Schreffler of Penndot. Schreffler said that when people see the signs after they’ve been changed a lot of times they’ll slow down or stop to take a picture. When they stop, that’s when they could get hit by another car.

If someone tries to hack into an electronic sign in Pennsylvania, they will have a lot of trouble thanks to Penndot. The signs are secured with padlocks and secured by a password that specific employees have. Preventing hacks not only protects government property, it protects piece of mind. “You have to look at it from the point of people with mental health issues. A zombie attack may be kind of overwhelming to them as well” said Schreffler.