Hacking is serious business these days: There’s always another attack that might have stolen your online information, another device that may be spying on you, or another vulnerability that you have to watch out for until it gets patched. That’s no fun.
That makes it easy to forget the first hacks were jokes and pranks, invented by coders looking to push a computer to its limit. While most of the world has forgotten that, some still hack with a more lighthearted approach. Here’s what happens when digital attacks get silly.
The “Godzilla ATTACK!” road warning
Sometimes the simplest hacks are the best. Take this 2014 hack of traffic warning signs—which are programmed with basic warnings about serious traffic issues or repair ahead. This hack replaced the warning on a San Francisco sign with, “Godzilla Attack! Turn Back!”
Interestingly, this coincided with other traffic sign attacks on the other side of the country, so we’re guessing someone was passing along an easy way to break traffic software security. State and federal agencies heaved heavy sighs, and put the signs on a long, long list of, “Things way overdue for security upgrades.” But we’re giving this prank extra points, because it was relatively harmless and probably made the drive home more enjoyable. It also spawned a series of amusing copy-cat road sign hacks.