Feeds

Hackers libel Canadian PM on train signs

Harper 'eats babies' taunt confuses commuters

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Bewildered Toronto train passengers were left scratching their heads after a hacker altered advertising signs to announce that Stephen Harper, the country's prime minister, "eats babies".

An unidentified ne'er-do-well broke into systems controlling electronic signs on Toronto's westbound Lakeshore GO Transit train to substitute transport updates for banners mocking the Canadian political leader.

Scrolling LED signs on several trains repeated the message "Stephen Harper Eats Babies" every three seconds during the duration of the attack, which took place on Thursday and Friday last week as well as Monday 1 May. Some commuters, unsurprisingly, thought they were hallucinating.

Gerry Nicholls, vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative think-tank formerly headed by Harper, told the Toronto Star: "You go home and you are trying to rest from work and all of a sudden where they usually talk about Ticketmaster, all of a sudden you see this thing say 'Stephen Harper Eats Babies'. I wasn't even sure when I got off the train. Was I hallucinating?"

"No one (in the car) seemed to be reacting to it," he added.

Security specialists told the Toronto Star that the attack was probably carried out by a remote control device that can be used to program scrolling electronic signs. The kit can be bought over the counter at electronic hobby stores, such as Sam's Club.

Transport chiefs have promised to step up security in order to prevent copycat digital graffiti attacks. They plan to password protect 790 digital signs to prevent tampering, using specialist software shipped from the US.

"We regret it happened and we're sorry if anybody was offended, including the prime minister," GO Transit spokesperson Ed Shea said. A spokesman for the prime minister categorised the attack as "inappropriate and disrespectful". ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.