The emergency message warned of “the bodies of the dead… rising from their graves and attacking the living.”
KRQE says the station manager of KENW changed all the passwords to make sure such a hoax did not happen again.
The alert said, “Local authorities in your area have reported the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”
The fake alert hit at least four stations in the US, including KENW, the PBS station in Portales.
NPR says a Michigan station that suffered the same hack traced it to an overseas source.
Similar mischief has happened before — construction signs in Maine were hacked to say “Warning Zombies Ahead!” last year. There have been other previous cases of construction signs being tampered with in the same way.
KRQE helpfully notes:
While this alert was fake, in case there is a zombie attack, remember the only way to kill a zombie is to sever its head.
This is not strictly true — zombies in most popular American culture, including the popular cable drama The Walking Dead, can only be killed if the brain is destroyed.
The Atlantic Wire notes that while this was a joke, it could have been much worse.
If the hack had happened in New York City and involved terrorists instead of zombies, however, the reaction could’ve been different. This actually happened a couple of years ago in the form of a hactivist group breaking into NBC’s Twitter account and reporting an attack at Ground Zero. The world did not end, but it wasn’t very funny either.
Photo by Grmisiti/Flickr