Hackers Hijack E-Billboards with Porn

Drivers in Michigan were recently surprised by a very graphic display on an electronic billboard. Hackers had commandeered the sign above I-75 North to display a video of adult performers Xev Bellringer and Princess Leia vying their craft. The practice isn’t just limited to the US. Shoppers in an Asics store in Auckland were startled to see a similar display on street-facing screens above the store.

For whatever reason, hackers are hijacking e-billboard signs to play porn in a very public setting.

What purpose the hackers might have in such deeds is a bit of a mystery. So far, they’re not benefiting monetarily. The best guess is that the hackers are looking to cause “harmless” chaos. But are such incidents really harmless? In the case of the Michigan hack, drivers reported that other drivers were braking and rubbernecking to see the video, which could easily have caused an accident.

Auburn Hills Police Lieutenant Ryan Gagnon stated that there were no known accidents during the incident, but the video, which was extremely bright against the night sky, was “a huge distraction to drivers and obviously obscene and inappropriate.” The ramifications for the hacking could be even more serious for the perpetrators.

“Promoting pornography and/or promoting pornography for minors by disseminating any pornographic material, images, videos, etc. is a violation of an Auburn Hills local ordinance with a possible penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. These suspects now face potential burglary charges for forcing entry into a building to gain access to the computer system, which is a felony offense,” reads a press release from the Auburn Hills Police Department.

For their part, the actresses in the Michigan video were opposed to the act. “Yes that is me,” Bellringer said. “I never thought this would happen with my content. I’m just happy that no one was injured!” Princess Leia stated, “I was shocked on hearing the news this morning out of Auburn Hills, and very relieved to hear that no one was hurt. It is my sincere hope that this will open a larger public discussion regarding the safety of electronic billboards.

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