Feeds

Hackers libel Canadian PM on train signs

Harper 'eats babies' taunt confuses commuters

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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". ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.