A simple prank of hacking and defacing highway sign with “Drive Crazy Yall” could land a hacker in jail for 10 years
Sometimes laws of land are so full of shit that they cant be explained. United States is no exception. A common prank has left Geoffrey Eltgroth with uncommon charges which could see him behind bars for 10 long years.
Eltgroth a 26 year-old hacker from Texas was arrested on Sunday for reprogramming an electronic highway sign to read “DRIVE CRAZY YALL.” As we have reported over the years, hacking highway signs, billboards, advertising boards are pretty commonplace in US but Eltgroth seems to have hacked and defaced the highway sign at a wrong time and wrong place.
Texas police has charged Eltgroth with an unlikely penalty: charges of felony criminal mischief, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
As said above, hacking and reprogramming highway signs is both remarkably commonplace and, as far as hacks go, incredibly easy. Most of these hacking signs are controlled by a computer which usually has the default username and password. Even if the billboard owner has changed the default password—which often isn’t the case—it can only take a single step to simply reset it. You need to just Google it.
Previously, such hackers have managed to hack highway signs with “GODZILLA ATTACK!,” “VOTE DONALD TRUMP,” and the ever-popular “CAUTION! ZOMBIES! AHEAD!!!” However, reports of such hackers being caught and charged with a criminal felony is rare, very rare.
The Cedar Park Police affidavit, obtained by Vocativ says that a Williamson County officer was tipped to a man tinkering with the sign, then found Eltgroth walking a dog behind a gas station. “When I confronted Eltgroth about changing the sign, he admitted to typing in the user name and password (which he guessed) for the sign and deleting the message to warn traffic of upcoming construction,” the officer declared, “because he believed it was humorous.”
Eltgroth is still in jail under the custody of Williamson County Sheriff’s department and will be going to court shortly. It remains to be seen whether the court views his prank as serious as felony and indicts him as the Texas police want.