Transportation

Respect for the president? Not from hacker who altered Interstate 80 sign

An electronic road sign on Interstate 80 near the UC Davis exit did not provide much helpful traffic information Wednesday night after being hacked.
An electronic road sign on Interstate 80 near the UC Davis exit did not provide much helpful traffic information Wednesday night after being hacked.

A person could wonder, why? Then the always-correct answer is “because they can.”

That’s pretty much the bottom line for hackers. In this case, the techno-vultures have again used their “talent” to run a goof on a Northern California traffic sign. Similar hacks have not been all that unusual.

The most recent happened Wednesday evening, according to a CBS 13 story, and involved a sign along the eastbound stretch of Interstate 80 near the UC Davis exit. The electronic sign was jimmied to say “TRUMP HAS HERPES.” Apropos of exactly what, it’s hard to say.

The sign’s message has since been corrected.

Previous hacks have altered Caltrans signs in Napa, Dixon and along Highway 1, according to an earlier CBS 13 story. The Napa hack, on July 4, changed “Caution Ahead” to “caution, asian drivers.” Back in May, the faux message on a sign in Dixon was “Free Hookers Ahead.”

The story says that in July 2016, the message on Highway 1 was “Zombies Ahead.” Another one in San Francisco said “Godzilla Attack.”

At least there has been some variety, if not poetry.

Caltrans said the sign hacked Wednesday in Davis was not one of theirs.

Brian Blomster: 916-326-5512, @b_blomster

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