Give Zombies a Brake

Hackers change construction road signs in Austin

By Matthew Stabley
|  Friday, Jan 30, 2009  |  Updated 4:40 PM EDT
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Give Zombies a Brake

The morning commute in Austin had a little more life Monday because of a zombie scare.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Some Austin motorists got a commute of the living dead Monday morning thanks to a little hacking.

Two signs that alert drivers to construction near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards instead warned about zombies in the area, NBC's Austin affiliate KXAN reported. Hackers changed the messages to read "Zombies in area! Run" and "Zombies ahead! Run for your lives!"

Though the Romero-worthy messages slowed more traffic than most construction warnings do, city officials didn't find them as funny as many motorists. They called the prank a public safety issue. It's a Class C misdemeanor in Texas.

The road construction contractor owns the signs, but the city is responsible for the messages. Padlocks to the signs were cut, and the messages were changed despite their computers being password protected.

The city and the manufacturer of the signs will discuss making them more secure.

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