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Local Emergency Alert System Hacked, Warns Dead Rising From Graves 235

First time accepted submitter Rawlsian writes "Great Falls, Montana, television station KRTC issued a denial of an Emergency Alert System report that 'dead bodies are rising from their graves.' The denial surmises that 'someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System...This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.'"
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Local Emergency Alert System Hacked, Warns Dead Rising From Graves

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  • Let me guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eksith ( 2776419 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:32PM (#42867449) Homepage
    Those systems that were never meant to go on the internet were somehow available on the internet? It's too bad some broadcast stations don't know when to air-gap
  • Re:Hurry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:39PM (#42867487)

    forget that 30 day urban legend. it's whether or not the Tall Man is still around. and give priority to shooting down flying chrome balls over zombies.

    "You think when you die, you go to heaven.......... You come to us! " -- the Tall Man

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:44PM (#42867537)

    On the contrary.

    This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed. It would have been much more harmful to send an alert about a more believable disaster. Can you imagine the panic if the hoax had been about rising floodwater, or an incoming storm or hurricane?

    This hack has the benefit of exposing a weakness before it could be maliciously exploited, in probably the only way that guarantees action will be taken. As we've seen, being a good white-hat and reporting the potential security is likely to result in you being prosecuted, and the fault being swept under the carpet.

  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:49PM (#42867559)
    Who the hell on this site supported Adam Lanza?
  • Re:Let me guess... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ljw1004 ( 764174 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:10PM (#42867653)

    You want to air-gap this system??!

    so that when an emergency makes it impossible to travel by road, then someone has to travel by road to key in an alert about it?

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:10PM (#42867655)

    This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed.

    I doubt that. If you are referring to the local officials who implemented the system or maintain it, then no, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They didn't design the system, they just installed what was compatible with everyone else. Those who designed the system will probably not be overly embarrassed, either.

    I doubt you're referring to the prankster, who certainly won't be embarrassed at all, even though such public displays should be embarrassing to him. It's like finding a mailing list and sending a bunch of spam to it to prove how insecure it is; annoying everyone on the list who can do nothing about it and really changing nothing.

    The only likely result of this will be a confirmation in the minds of the public that hackers are nutcases who need to be put in jail for doing stupid things, not a sudden realization that hackers are here to save us from our mistakes.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:35PM (#42867797)

    Later studies suggested the panic was less widespread than newspapers had indicated at the time. During this period, many newspaper publishers were concerned that radio, a new medium, would render them obsolete. In that time of yellow journalism, print journalists took the opportunity to suggest that radio was dangerous by embellishing the story of the panic that ensued

    The parallels almost write themselves...

  • by hessian ( 467078 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:36PM (#42867803) Homepage Journal

    I think these gentle reminders about security are great and are part of the spirit of hacking.

    Which would the USA rather have: (a) goofball hackers create a zombie panic, or (b) our next enemy uses a coordinated attack to create actual panic?

    Reminds me of the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast by Orson Welles. []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:40PM (#42867829)

    Nobody would be able to guess a hash value and get info on a stranger, right?

    Actually, yeah. That's pretty much the exact function of a properly constructed cryptographic hash function.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @10:58PM (#42867885)

    Break into a system meant for emergency use only and the hammer will come down.

    Fine. But it should come down equally as hard, if not more so, on those who accepted public money to build a secure system and failed to do so. Anything else is scapegoating.

  • Re:Hurry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @01:07AM (#42868527)

    Have you BEEN to gun store lately? There's few firearms available and damn near zero ammo, especially in common sizes like 9mm. All you will find are bare shelves -and if you do find some ammo, you better buy it. Don't even stop to look at the prices.

    About the only ammo easily in stock is shotgun shells and slugs. Everything else is gone the moment it hits the shelves. It's been this way since 2008, had gotten better but went to hell in a handbasket after Sandy Hook.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter