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Billboards hacked at a subway station to display porn

A new hacking incident in electronic billboards has been reported by information security specialists. Last Thursday, during the maintenance of an interactive display in Kalmar, Sweden, an unknown user infiltrated the systems that control the screen to display images of a pornographic site.

According to international media, Karl-Johan Bodell, regional director of public transportation company KLT, mentioned that a bus operator reported the incident to his bosses. In turn, the company notified the local authorities.

The display, located at Kalmar Central Station
in southeastern Sweden, was soon deactivated by the local government’s information
security team, who announced that the device will remain off until the
authorities conclude the investigation incident.

Although an official stance on the incident has
not yet been revealed, local media immediately began raising the possibility of
a cyberattack, although this still needs to be confirmed by the company or
local investigative agencies. On the other hand, Bodell commented: “the
possibility of hacking is the main explanation for this incident”.

The transport company specified that the
screens placed at the stations are operated by a third party, which will be in
charge of the investigation of the incident and, in collaboration with local
authorities, will implement security measures to prevent similar attacks in the
future.

Similar information security incidents have
recently been reported in multiple locations. A couple of weeks ago, an
electronic traffic signal was hacked in Kentucky, US, to show drivers
inappropriate messages. The signal was deactivated shortly after receiving the
report.

According to the International Institute of
Cyber Security (IICS), the main reason these incidents occur so frequently is
because these traffic signals, billboards
and so on, are operated by third-party companies that are not care about
implementing the necessary controls to prevent access to these systems. Access
to these devices is usually obtained locally, so it is only required for the
carelessness of authorized personnel for hackers to take control of a screen
and transmit the content they want, whether threatening messages, jokes or even
pornographic content.    

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