Hackers warn viewers of zombie apocalypse
Reporter: Liz Kotalik
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Zombies are a world-wide obsession. Television and movie producers are hitting entertainment gold with zombie TV shows and movies.
Well, now hackers want a piece of the blood and guts.
Imagine that you're relaxing at home on a Monday afternoon, just watching some television when you hear this:
"Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living."
Zombies? They're real!?! What would YOU do?
"I would laugh and think it's a total joke," said non-believer Bonnie Bartuska.
"I'd probably be laughing," said Larry O'Neill, thinking the prank was stupid. "I'd probably be texting my mom saying hey, are you getting this on the news?"
Well, believe it or not, the zombie apocalypse was a hoax.
Hackers infiltrated the emergency warning systems of at least four local TV stations across the country to warn everyone that their city had become a real-life adaptation of "The Walking Dead" or "Zombieland."
Yes, this was a mildly humorous prank, but I spoke with Robert Reymont who chairs the Arizona Emergency Communication Committee, and he says hackers with the ability to broadcast anything they want have the potential to be very dangerous.
"It could have been something other than a zombie alert," Robert said. "There's a number of EAS codes that they could have used that could have caused much more havoc."
The emergency alert system (EAS) is normally used for amber alerts, weather warnings and other national or local emergencies, but Robert said a new, upgraded system that runs from the Internet makes it easier for hackers to use EAS for zombie-like pranks.
"The Internet is not necessarily protected enough at a lot of broadcast facilities," Robert said.
He said nothing like this has happened before, but for now, we know that nobody's rising from the dead today, and hopefully, they won't be any time soon.
The local authorities in Montana said they only got calls from a couple of people asking if the warning they saw was actually true.
Both the FCC and the FBI are looking in to who made the calls.
Preliminary reports show the hackers did their dirty work from overseas.
Click HERE to see the hack for yourself!