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Suffolk road signs hacked to display political messages

Two portable electronic road signs in Suffolk County were “hacked” this month, according to the New York State Department of Transportation, and their messages were changed to comment on the presidential race.

A sign on Route 25 in Calverton was changed to read “Vote Trump 2016,” according to Walter Olsen, 48, of Riverhead, who had driven past the sign Monday around 6:30 a.m.

After a contractor noticed the sign had been tampered with, it was corrected later Monday morning, DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said.

Earlier this month, another portable road sign in Ronkonkoma was changed to display a message that mentioned both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and included some vulgarity, photos posted to Facebook on Sept. 11 show.

That sign was located on Ocean Avenue and had initially warned people about upcoming lane closures on Veterans Memorial Highway, according to Peters.

A contractor corrected the sign, which was off when he arrived, to display the original message Sept. 13, Peters said.

Peters says the DOT’s contractors are required to review the portable signs daily to ensure they’re functioning properly.

She said it’s “not a frequent occurrence” for their portable signs to be hacked and they’re looking into the issue.

“These were two signs fairly close together, so we’re looking into it and seeing if there are any additional precautions we can take, other than reviewing them daily,” Peters said.


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