How (not) to Hack a Road Sign – and add ‘Zombie Attack! Detour!’

Posted on Jan 12, 2010 in DIY Projects

Source: If You Were a


You may curse the common road worker.  They delight in setting up orange cones and slowing our commute.  It isn’t uncommon to see a dozen surly men and the occasional beautiful woman in classy reflective vests watching with fascination as another worker stands in a hole.  Add a supervisor with a clipboard and an over-enthusiastic back-hoe operator and you’ve got seven miles of closed off construction zone for at least two years. 

Zombie Road SignWell, now it seems that these misunderstood public servants may just be our salvation.  Our loyal (and exceptionally good looking) readers have been sending tips of signs of local outbreaks for the past couple weeks and it seems things are finally coming to a (undead) head.

Messages have been appearing on electronic road signs across the United States warning of zombies.  As is usually the case, the first sign of trouble came from the great state of Texas where a sign in Austin warned of “Zombies Ahead.”  Transportation lackeys were quickly sent to lie to panicked news crews.  There was no zombie outbreak, they claimed, the sign had just been hacked by teenage pranksters.

The trouble soon spread to other local highways as alert road crews risked their lives to slowly type out an electronic warning before they ran for the hills.  “Nazi Zombies!  Run!!” said another Texas sign while  Illinois’ unionized finest warned  “Raptors Ahead – Caution”.  Ok, we don’t quite understand that one, but maybe they were a victim of the iPhone spell-checker.  In any case there have been sightings across the country of “Daily Lane Closures Due to Zombies” and “The End is Near!” and “Danger: Zombie Attack!”

Recently, auto blog published a guide about how hackers could have changed text on these signs.  We approve of warnings from qualified personnel, but ask you not to tamper with these signs on your own.  To help you understand what not to do, we’ve provided the following guide.
Warning, do not tamper with these signs produced by the ADDCO Company.

  1. Do not open the access panel on the back of the sign.
  2. Do not remove the black control pad and do not plug the curly cord into the keyboard port.
  3. For god’s sake, do not try to enter the default password of “DOTS
  4. If the default password does not work, do not hold down “Control” and “Shift” while you enter “DIPY”.  This will reset the password to “DOTS”, which, as we said before, you should never enter.
  5. Do not scroll to “Instant Text” and do not type any warnings about zombies.
  6. Do not hit enter to submit the text and do not select “Run w/out Save“.
  7. Do not add additional messages by selecting “Add Page

These signs should only be changed by authorized personnel in the event of an actual emergency.  Remember what happened to the boy who cried wolf-he got a famous story named after him.

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