Students and visitors to the University of Montana campus Monday evening were greeted with a less than traditional message on a digital construction sign.
The sign, which may have originally warned drivers about construction ahead, was hacked to instead display a popular quote from the 2000 rap single “The Next Episode” by hip hop artists Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The hacked sign read “Smoke Weed Everyday,” a line from the song that is said by the late rapper Nate Dogg, who was featured on the track.
University representatives deny that this was any act by faculty, nor the company that provided the construction sign to advocate for legal marijuana in Montana.
According to Peggy Kuhr, University of Montana vice president of integrated communications, the person responsible for this prank may have difficulty attempting to repeat it. Kuhr reported,
“The password was changed, so whoever did this can’t get in again.”
According to Wade Sellers, the president of the company that provided the sign, this type of equipment may not be that difficult to hack because the messages cannot be changed remotely. The control panel is on the sign itself. Sellers reported,
“They have to get inside the machine, and then someone has to know the password to log into the software system.”
Fewer than ten companies in the area manufacture these kind of electronic signs, and they all come with preset passwords that could easily be discovered if a person went digging for it.
“Whoever changed those boards was able to figure out what that password was for those units.”
The sign was changed as soon as it was reported. It is estimated that the “Smoke Weed Everyday” message was running for less than half an hour.