Local News

DOT traffic alert signs hacked

Posted May 30, 2014

The state Department of Transportation is reviewing security for digital road signs after a group hacked at least five signs Friday.

The group changed the intended transportation-related messages on the signs to an advertisement for its Twitter account, DOT officials said. As soon as the agency learned of the incidents, the correct messages were reinstated.

The hacked signs were on Interstate 40 and Interstate 240 in Asheville, U.S. Highway 421 in Winston-Salem, Interstate 77 near the North Carolina-Virginia state line and Carolina Beach Road in New Hanover County.

“We’re taking this cyber event very seriously,” DOT Chief Information Officer David Ulmer said in a statement. “We’re not only working with the authorities to investigate this serious incident, but we’re also doing multiple security scans on our equipment and our IT infrastructure to make sure we close any further vulnerabilities.”

Officials said they have figured out how the hackers got into the DOT system, and crews across the state are inspecting each sign to ensure the settings don't leave any sign exposed to hackers. The inspections are expected to be complete by Saturday.

IT managers at DOT also are scanning the online connections to the signs to confirm there are no further vulnerabilities, officials said. That review is expected to be finished later this weekend.

The same group also hacked transportation signs in Wyoming, officials said, noting that the FBI is looking into the case.


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