Some 6,000 7-Elevens May Have Had Digital Signs Hacked In Last Week’s Taiwan Cyber Attack: Report

August 9, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Whoa … the details either weren’t out or I missed the part in the first reports I saw that it wasn’t a few 7-Elevens with screens that got hacked with anti-US messaging last week, when US Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an official visit to that island nation.

It may have been as many as screens in some 6,000 stores.

When the politician made her visit a week ago reports started popping up about screens being compromised with vitriolic messaging that slammed and insulted Pelosi, with the Chinese government suspected of being behind the hacks.

Taiwan News reports that Uni-President — the company that runs 7-Eleven in Taiwan — said the “interruptions” were from an “external” disturbance and network. The stores were told to either turn off or unplug the screens until the issue was resolved.

Wang Hao-yu, a 32-year-old businessman from Kaohsiung, is believed to be the first person to have shared photos of the hacked billboards online. Mr Wang said more than 6,000 7-Eleven stores were affected.

“The whole scene was just incredible,” he told the ABC.

The former legislature member for Taoyuan City said dozens of people from across Taiwan sent him photos of hacked billboards. 

“There were so many messages showing the same scene across Taiwan,” he said.

It’s logical that if a few screens on the network were compromised with messaging, they probably all were – by getting at the CMS or some sort of network management toolset. You could push out one file everywhere more easily than rooting around and compromising a few, one by one. However, the reports I’ve read don’t provide official confirmation that all the screens were compromised.

Interestingly, the Taiwan News story also says: “The manufacturer of the screens has been asked to carry out repairs immediately and the affected stores are otherwise operating normally.”

I can’t tell from photos what manufacturer that might be, but two of the biggest LCD makers in the industry are based in Taiwan – though much of their product might actually be made across the water in China.

7-Elevens are ubiquitous in Taiwan. Think Starbucks in Seattle or Tim Hortons in Hamilton, Ontario.

  1. Craig says:

    I wonder how detailed their analytics data is, and also the access policies and mechanisms for advertisers. A worse outcome could be totally compromised but no visible sign of that.

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