Last week, we heard about some road signs in Texas getting hacked as a prank, most likely devised by gamers. The earliest signs warned Austin motorists of Nazi zombies, and more similar signs have appeared in Indiana and Illinois.
The antics of bored nerds have spread across the nation. On Monday, an electronic traffic sign in Hamilton County, Indiana flashed, "RAPTORS AHEAD — CAUTION."
On Tuesday, commuters passing through Collinsville, Illinois on the Interstate 255 saw another sign declaring, "DAILY LANE CLOSURES DUE TO ZOMBIES." The original message alerted drivers to mind a crew working on guardrails, and city officials are a little worried that someone could get hurt if these pranks continue.
"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 aren't sure how the signs got hacked, but Gasaway thinks they may have been altered remotely. Austin Public Works spokesperson Sara Hartley suspects the ones responsible for the incident in Texas cut through a padlock to access the signs' computers.
In Illinois, tampering with an official traffic control device is a misdemeanor, and culprits will need to pay a $250 fine. In Texas, the charge is half that amount, while in Indiana, perpetrators could face up to a year in jail and $5,000 in fines.
These photographs taken by Chris Nakashima-Brown show the Austin road signs: