“Good hackers” took over billboard to send security warning

The good hackers at their best.

When it comes to taking advantage of vulnerabilities the WannaCry ransomware attack is the latest example of it where hackers used Server Message Block protocol (SMB) vulnerability in Windows OS and infected computers in more than 100 countries.

But then some good guys do good things just like in this incident when a group of hackers took over a digital billboard at a shopping mall in Liverpool, England and defaced with a message suggesting the authorities improve their security. 

“We suggest you improve your security.” Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood hackers. #JFT96.”

Those who witnessed the incident took it to Twitter and Reddit where some commenters called the feat “Such polite young hackers,” “British manners,” “I wonder if the hacker was drinking tea as he did it” and I bet it was actually Canadians on vacation.”

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As far as the hashtag “#JFT96” at the end of the message, according to BBC, it is an an apparent abbreviation of “Justice for the 96,” a reference to the 96 football fans who died in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Another Reddit user going by the handle of /poolsofmaroon explained that “the hashtag “#JFT96” stands for “Justice For The 96”, which is a reference to the 96 football fans who were crushed to death at a Liverpool game in 1989. The police initially blamed the fans, and after years of fighting for justice a 2009-independent-inquiry revealed how the police had shifted the blame to fans and emergency services, and that the supporters were in fact “unlawfully killed” due to gross neglect by the police.”

More:  "Good hackers" took over billboard to send security warning
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The Liverpool One spokesperson told the BBC that the screen was deactivated as soon it was realized that hackers pwned it. “Our screens are operated by an external company [Elonex] which is currently investigating what happened as a matter of urgency.”

“As soon as the apparent hacked message appeared on the screen, Liverpool One immediately closed it down.”

While Elonex, the company responsible for the billboard said that: “We can confirm an incident occurred over the weekend on one of the 18 screens we operate at Liverpool One … The incident appears to have been good-natured and not intended to cause offense or disruption, for which we are grateful.”

Hacking digital road signs and billboards has become a growing new trend. Just a couple of days ago a road sign in Huston Taxes was hacked and defaced with “Impeach Trump” message. In another incident in Indonesia, a billboard at a busy intersection was hacked with Japanese porn.

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Written by Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.