Watch Dogs Linked to Real-Life Sign Hacking


As everyone knows, real-life hacking is as easy as pressing a button. So, of course, it’s no surprise that real-life hacking incidents are being linked to Watch Dogs, much the same way real-life “Jasoning” incidents were linked to Heavy Rain.

Recently three highway signs in North Carolina were hacked to display the message “Hack by Sun Hacker.” Other similar hacks were found in different states.

Although Sun Hacker might think it’s a gag, law enforcement takes the hacking of such signs seriously because they can cause traffic problems and accidents, as a report by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center points out.

According to a post by Brian Krebs on, that report also links Sun Hacker’s action to the recent release of Watch Dogs.

“…likely coincides with the May 27, 2014 release of the video game ‘Watch Dogs,’ in which game play revolves around ‘hacking,’ with a focus on hacking critical infrastructure-based electronic devices in particular. Watch Dogs allows players to hack electronic road signs, closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs), street lights, cell phones and other systems. On May 27, 2014, the malicious actor posted an image of the game on his Twitter feed, demonstrating his interest in the game, and the compromise of road signs occurs during game play. CIS believes it is likely that a small percentage of Watch Dog players will experiment with compromising computers and electronic systems outside of game play, and that this activity will likely affect SSLT [state, local, tribal and territorial] government systems and Department of Transportation (DOT) systems in particular.”

Krebs says Sun Hacker, whom he rates as nothing more than a “script kiddie” who likes to deface websites, didn’t have to do too much more than press a button to deface the signs because they were so pathetically secured.

So maybe, as dumb as it sounds, there is a wave of little Aidens coming even if they aren’t inspired by the game. Krebs makes a good case that it’s worth securing some of these critical but vulnerable systems just in case.

“We see a great deal of hand-waving and public discussion about the possibility that foreign cyber attackers may one day use vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure to cause widespread problems in the United States. But my bet is that if this ever happens in a way that causes death and/or significant destruction, it will not be the result of a carefully-planned and executed cyber warfare manifesto, but rather the work of some moderately skilled and bored cracker who discovered that he could do it,” Krebs wrote.



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