Courtesy: Telluride Daily Planet
TELLURIDE - This time of year, with highway construction projects in high gear throughout the state, it is common to see cone zones and CDOT variable messaging signs. Those signs are a valuable tool used to communicate with motorist.
"You know these boards really carry messages for us to slow for the cone zone. They give directions to people to know exactly where to go, where they are driving and sometimes they carry a larger message for us in regards to safety," CDOT spokesperson Amy Ford said.
To assure the message delivered by these signs is correct the units are locked and require a password to change the message.
On Tuesday, the security of one sign was breached with a message about a national security breach. The sign, located in the southbound lane of Highway 145, was programmed to inform motorists about rock mitigation work being done in the area.
Someone changed it to read, "Snowden is a Hero," in reference to Edward Snowden, the computer specialist who leaked government documents and is in hiding in Russia.
"Sometimes we have an instance where our signs get hacked and that is what happened to us recently in Telluride. The panels, actually each of these signs, are self-contained units, and in that situation a panel was left open and someone was able to get in and actually change the message on the sign," Ford said.
In addition to leaving the message unit unlocked, the password required to change the message was left inside. The hacker's message was on the board for several hours.
"For us this is really about containing the situation in the sense of protecting the sign, making sure that it is locked and that kind of thing and then those people who need to change the signs have the password to do so," Ford said.
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