A digital billboard in the Detroit area was hacked last fall, with ads replaced by a very naughty video. Probably like most people, I assumed a couple of teenaged boys with strong computer chops somehow got at the media player and made the change, for the sake of some giggles.
I was right, though the level of vulnerability of the board is/was a little mind-blowing.
The door to the equipment shed below the billboard was unlocked, probably for months, and the media player was just a laptop (which is pretty damn nutty in itself).
Two teen boys – a 16 and an 18 year old – were caught on security cams entering the shed. They wore one-piece hazardous chemical suits to disguise themselves, but the pair were both ID’d and busted within days of the break-in.
Emphasizing the obvious: lock your equipment building and definitely lock down your media playback devices with super-strong passwords and other measures.
Don’t know whose board, but will assume this was a smaller local operator, as I can’t see the major DOOH guys falling down like this.
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.