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Zombie Apocalypse Emergency Alert System: Hackers Broadcast Warning About Walking Dead Outbreak (VIDEO)

By Zulai Serrano z.serrano@hngn.com | Jul 09, 2013 10:29 AM EDT

Hackers hijacked the Emergency Alert System to announce a zombie apocalypse. (Photo : Reuters)

Wait, so you're telling me World War Z's zombie outbreak actually happened? According to several messages from local Emergency Alert Systems, it did.

In an afternoon broadcast of the Steve Wilkos talk show on KRTV in Montana, a loud buzzer sounded and a banner ran across the screen as an announcer read the words.

"Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living," the emergency broadcast announcer stated. "Follow the messages on-screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies, as they are extremely dangerous."

Similar broadcast were reportedly aired at stations in Michigan, New Mexico, Utah and California. The hackers targeted local systems, but not national EAS network, Wired reports.

Tech-savy pranksters took over Emergency Alert System (EAS) decoders, and used them to break into TV and radio broadcasts to announce public safety warnings. EAS vulnerabilities allowed the hijackers to send fake messages to the public, according to Wired.

"The vulnerabilities included a private root SSH key that was distributed in publicly available firmware images that would have allowed an attacker with SSH access to a device to log in with root privileges and issue fake alerts or disable the system," Wired reports.

Mike Davis, IOActive principal research scientist, discovered the flaws in the application servers of two digital alerting systems, better known as DASDEC-I and DASDEC-II, according to Wired. These systems are responsible for receiving and confirming emergency alert messages.

"These DASDEC application servers are currently shipped with their root privileged SSH key as part of the firmware update package," Davis said in a statement. "This key allows an attacker to remotely log on in over the Internet and can manipulate any system function."

According to Wired, Davis said in order to fix the issue, the system would require "re-engineering" and firmware updates.

Check out the EAS broadcast below.

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