Feeds

Hackers libel Canadian PM on train signs

Harper 'eats babies' taunt confuses commuters

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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". ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.