Mainstream pop radio might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a decent option if you need some inoffensive background noise to fill a room or your vehicle. This week, however, listeners expecting to hear chart hits as they tuned in to Colorado’s KIFT were treated to something rather different — a sexually explicit podcast about “furry” culture known as the FurCast.
It’s fair to say that the subject of sexually anthropomorphized animals isn’t the sort of thing that’s typically discussed on morning radio. At present, a scheduling gap is the going explanation for a large-scale hack that led to three stations and a national syndicator bringing the furry agenda to the airwaves.
As well as KIFT, an unnamed station in Denver, and Texas-based country station KXAX were also targeted in the attack, according to a report from Ars Technica. KXAX owner Jason Mclelland told the site that the hosts of the podcast “talked about sex with two guys and a girl in explicit detail and rambled on with vulgar language.”
The hijack was carried out via an exploit linked to Barix Box transmission devices. An advisory from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters states that, for some time, the culprits had been amassing passwords, which were used to redirect the receiver to the desired podcast, before the login was changed in order to necessitate a manual reset.
The group behind FurCast has corroborated this story, noting that their streaming server was inundated with requests identified as coming from a Barix streaming client, but the podcast hosts do not claim to be behind the attack and claim they have no knowledge about why it took place. It remains to be seen whether the podcast will experience an increase in its audience thanks to this national exposure.
Stations using Barix Boxes are encouraged to tighten up their security efforts. Two of the devices targeted in this attack are thought to have been protected by relatively weak six-character passwords.
As for the motive? No one knows why the attackers picked FurCast, but the podcast’s content suggests it was a prank intended to highlight the broadcasters’ weak security.