LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A road sign with an unexpected message surprised Kentucky drivers on Thursday morning: “Send nudes.”

Before you get a ticket for distracted driving, just know the message along Kentucky Highway 92 in Whitley County was not sent by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet – it was from a hacker.

The sign was turned off quickly after reports started flowing in at the Transportation Cabinet around 8 a.m.

State officials said they aren’t sure who did the hacking.

The sign belongs to the contractor managing a roadwork project in Whitley, said Amber Hale, a cabinet spokeswoman.

“We were notified this morning that the message was … different,” Hale said. “We contacted (the contractor) and sent them immediately down to confirm it, they confirmed it, and they immediately turned the message board off.”

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Hale said she wasn’t sure exactly how the password-protected sign got hacked, but whoever did it would have had to be on site to reprogram it.

Technology media site StateScoop reported in 2018 that it’s “still really easy” to hack road signs, which is illegal.

The signs are often owned and operated by private contractors.

Dallas saw a string of road sign hackings in 2016, with messages including “DONALD TRUMP IS A SHAPE SHIFTING LIZARD!!” and “WORK IS CANCELED / GO BACK HOME.”

I’m not sure this is what @TxDOT meant for this road sign to say…

— Tim Ciesco (@TimCiesco) May 31, 2016

#BREAKING No need to go to work today! @JennyAFox4 has the latest on a sign hacking outbreak

— FOX4Terry (@FOX4Terry) May 31, 2016

More recently, traffic signs in Berkeley, California, were hacked with more ominous messages such as “THE FUTURE SUCKS” and “EXPECT PED/BIKE DEATHS,” Berkeleyside reported at the time.

Someone broke into the digital traffic sign at Cedar and California and added new wording: Uber Abuses Labor

— William Newton (@wnewton48) September 1, 2019

Hale said she’s heard of it happening around the country, so she wasn’t surprised that it finally happened to the Central Kentucky district.


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