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The hacked sign outside Austin, Texas

Here's a Warning System I Can Support


BY DAN X. McGRAW / The Dallas Morning News
January 29, 2009

An Austin road sign meant to warn motorists about road conditions instead read: "The end is near! Caution! Zombies ahead!"

Vandals broke off a lock on the sign in central Austin early Monday and then hacked into the computer to change the words, said Sara Hartley, a city spokeswoman.

When they were done, the sign read: "The end is near! Caution! Zombies ahead! Run for cold climate!"

Before leaving, the vandals reset the password so the city could not easily change the sign. The sign's humorous warning stayed up for several hours before the manufacturer of the computer could reset the password.

Austin officials aren't taking the spoof lightly, noting it is a criminal act.

"The signís content was humorous, but the act of changing it wasn't," Hartley said.

Austin police are investigating the situation, and the vandals could face a Class C misdemeanor charge of tampering with a road sign, Hartley said.

Note from Dr. Pecos: Perhaps I can work this into my Austin Interactive Case?