Hackers Hijack Digital Billboard In Liverpool Shopping Centre

Liverpool One

The billboard was turned off quickly, but not before pictures of the hack made their way online

A large digital billboard outside the Liverpool One shopping centre was hacked to display a message taunting the mall’s inadequate cybersecurity measures.

Liverpool One shut down the screen as soon as it became aware of the issue, but not before the message was seen by shoppers and posted to social media sites Reddit and Twitter.

The hackers wrote: “We suggest you improve your security. Sincerely, your friendly neighbourhood hackers.”

Liverpool One

Sign of the times

The message was also tagged “#JFT96” which means “Justice for the 96”, a reference to the 96 Liverpool football fans who lost their lives in the in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

“Our screens are operated by an external company which is currently investigating what happened as a matter of urgency,” said a Liverpool One spokeswoman. “As soon as the apparent hacked message appeared on the screen, Liverpool One immediately closed it down.”

Elonex, the firm the operates the billboards, also issued a statement saying: “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 offence or disruption, for which we are grateful.”

This hack, although not malicious in nature, is just another example of how no internet-connected system is safe from the prying eyes of cyber criminals.

And there are plenty of more serious examples out in the wild. For example, more than 8,000 known vulnerabilities were recently found in the code inside pacemakers and a new botnet has been discovered targeting internet-connected cameras.

With the level of cyber crime continuing to rise significantly, it’s clear that security has to now be built in from the outset, rather than added as an afterthought.

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