Electronic Sign Hacked, Display Changed to Offensive Message on Lake Shore Drive Near Gold Star Families Memorial and Park, Just East of Soldier Field


An electronic sign, set to manage traffic flow for the upcoming Chicago Bears game on Lake Shore Drive, was hacked overnight Thursday/Friday and discovered and reported about 6:20 a.m. Friday October 18, 2019.

The message on the illuminated electronic sign displayed “Kill Cops.” and was visible to northbound traffic near Soldier Field, and also near Gold Star Families Memorial and Park, which memorializes Chicago police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

Initially there was no information on how the sign was hacked, except it was apparently modified with a connected keyboard. Some signs have a controller on a panel on the mobile electronic support stand. Others have a modem or other Internet-connecting device that allows remote configuration of the display. With either method, if the password is not changed from the manufacturer’s default password, anyone with instructions and awareness of the default passwords, available online, can change the sign’s display.

Area Central detectives are investigating. The sign is owned by a private company that is hired to direct traffic to parking areas at Soldier Field for the Chicago Bears game, but crews from the City of Chicago Streets and Sanitation Department deactivated the sign at the request of the police department. The sign is usually placed just south of Waldron Drive where northbound traffic on Lake Shore Drive (US-41) is approaching Soldier Field just southwest of the stadium. Gold Star Families Memorial and Park and the Chicago Police Memorial is directly east of Soldier Field between Museum Campus Drive and Burnham Harbor.



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