Flight information screens at Vietnam’s two main airports were hacked over the weekend to spout pro-Chinese propaganda.
AP reported that the public address system of Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport and the Tan Son Nhat airport, which serves Ho Chi Minh City, were also hacked on Friday evening.
The hackers used the systems to make digs against Vietnam and the Philippines over a long-running territorial dispute against China involving disputed regions of the South China Sea. Authorities took the hacked systems offline.
Vietnam Airlines was also hacked (most likely defaced) around the same time, according to local reports.
Vietnamese transport minister Nguyen Nhat played down the significance of the attacks by saying neither the security of the airport nor its air traffic control systems was affected, according to local news outlet VnExpress.
From a technical perspective what happened in Vietnam is not that different to incidents where US traffic signs have been defaced by prankster hackers to warn of a looming zombie apocalypse. Weak passwords, insufficient or no encryption and a lack of network segmentation are probably behind the Vietnamese pwnage, El Reg‘s security desk would venture to suggest. Audio announcement systems can also be vulnerable.
For example, three years ago pranksters managed to hack a TV emergency alert system in Montana to broadcast an on-air audio warning about the supposed start of a zombie apocalypse. ®