The visual displays and the LED screens are exposed to possible hacks, or rather, the computers that control the screens are; not in exchange for money, but it can give us a bad drink with the temporary modification of unwanted content.

Adrian Morel

It would seem that cyber attacks or the intrusion of hackers into computer systems is the new criminal modus operandi of modern times.

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The modalities are of the most varied, some request money in exchange for the release of captured data or blockages, others make covert bank transfers, there is also the manipulation of voters and finally, we see the intrusion into networks or WiFi modifying content in visual displays.

The agents or "virus" perpetrators of such criminal act, have different forms and names, among them we have the "pishings", the "Trojans", the "ramsonwares", "PETYA", etc. All of them have the function of entering into computer devices and modifying the operative programming, leaving it under the absolute control of the intruder agent.

In December of the 2016, one of the most notorious scandals, was the presidential election of the United States of America, where in the dispute between the candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, there was talk of attacks by Russian programmers within the voting system electoral, with the intention of modifying votes.

In May of the 2017, a "ramsonware" virus called "wannacry" affected more than 200.000 computers in 150 countries. These viruses are a variant of the "PETYA" and meet three objectives. First: It infects the files. Second: Encrypt them. Third: Block your access. This attack was aimed at the popular Ukrainian operating software "MeDoc" taking advantage of its updates.

In June of this same year, companies from Ukraine and Russia, such as the oil company Rosneft, the Danish shipping company Maersk, the British advertising group WPP, also suffered similar attacks where the hackers requested a sum of US $ 300 in bitcoin for the release of the data.

Nowadays hackers have access to any type of system, not only of companies but also in networks belonging to governments with maximum security systems.

What is a ramsonware?
It is a programming code that restricts the access of some files by encrypting them, asking for a ransom in exchange for release. It is transmitted like a worm or a Trojan. It affects corporate and personal computers under the variant called "Locky" which is a Trojan virus that is received through an email. Other variants of ramoneare are the cryptowall4, PadCrypt and Fakben.

These viruses seem to attack with greater assiduity Windows operating systems, automatic update such as Window 10 or Window 8, 8.1 manual update.

Hacking of LED screens
There were a lot of intrusions to LED screens or visual displays in India (2005), Bulgaria (2007), Germany (2007), Iran (2007), Los Angeles-California (2008), UK (2008), Croatia (2208), University of MIT (2009), Tucson-Arizona (2009), New York (2009), Hampshire-UK (2009), Moscow (2010), Parliament of Indonesia (2010), Argentina (2017), but in all these attacks They have asked for money in return, but have modified the content for propaganda purposes.

Hack any visual display is possible, for this we must identify the "frequency and format" of the streaming signal.

Today we have electronic devices that can capture data packets from a network, retrieve them and analyze the type of "coding". These devices can open keys or passwords of wireless systems of 802.11 WEP, WPA-PSK systems of Windows, Linux, OSx, BSD and Solaris platforms.

The visual displays and the LED screens are exposed to possible hacks, or rather, the computers that control the screens are. The screens for events that are controlled by "stand alone" or "consoles" systems will not have an intrusion problem, but those visual systems connected in a network for the public way and that are fed via WiFi or Microwaves, run the risk of being intercepted, not in exchange for money, but it can give us a bad drink with the temporary modification of unwanted content.

* Adrian Morel is a consultant with 20 years of experience in Silicon Valley, California and can be reached at:

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.


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