When digital signage systems get hacked, the perpetrators tend to go to the 12-year-old psyches and they replaced marketing messages with naughty videos.
But a cyber attack went in a very different, highly political direction last week in Vietnam – when hackers posted political messages on the digital signage displays at Vietnam’s two largest airports, as well as screens used by Vietnam Airlines.
Reports the Washington Times:
The attacks — attributed to a Chinese hacking group known as 1937CN — ultimately failed to cause any significant security issues or air traffic control problems, Vice Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat told local media.
Nonetheless, the individuals briefly hijacked flight information screens and sound systems inside Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, respectively.
“All internet systems have been switched off so we had to do everything by hand,” an airline attendant at Tan Son Nhat told Vietnam’s Tuou Tre News.
At a third hub, Da Nang International, computer systems experienced repeated glitches, according to the news site. Instead of departure and arrival details, the airports’ flight screens and speakers broadcast what local media described as anti-Vietnamese and Philippines slogans, in turn prompting authorities to shut down both systems.
Toui Tre published video footage from inside one of the airports that contains audio of the English-language message played to travelers.
“This is a warning from China 1937CN Team,” a voice could be heard saying in the clip. “South China Sea is China’s inherent territory.”
We live in interesting times.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.