It’s not all fun and games for the radio stations that have made use of the internet and gotten themselves a decent online presence.
Recently, four large radio stations in Australia fell victim of hackers and turned into porn sites. These stations include 2GB and the website for Queensland radio station, 4BC.
On the 29th of January, 4BC confirmed their website was experiencing difficulties.
Listeners took to social media to share their experiences. One user tweeted that the website “goes straight to porn”. Another user stated the website had offered them the chance to win an iPhone.
The hackers’ victims use WordPress as their website’s host. Websites across the world use WordPress; so it
is without a doubt that there are security vulnerabilities that come with it. According to James Cridland, radio futurologist, the stations’ WordPress hosts “failed to keep their version of WordPress totally up to date”.
And hackers haven’t only been targeting Australian radio stations. Several radio stations across the US also fell victim of hackers, who broadcast rapper YG and Nipsey Hussle’s anti-Trump anthem ‘FDT – F**k Donald Trump‘. The track contains graphic language aimed at the current President of the United States.
One station that fell victim of unexpected song plays was Sunny 107.9. On the 30th of January, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, hackers played FDT continually for approximately 20 minutes.
Station President Frank Patterson said that the station was hacked at the transmitter. Furthermore, Patterson posted on Facebook “This is NOT our broadcast! We at WFBS do not take political views.”
According to Kathy Weisbach, founder and president of Kentucky’s Crescent Hill Radio 100.9 FM, most of the stations hacked were low-power community FM radio stations that use a Barix Extreamer device.
“Other stations that it happened to have contacted me, and we all used the same device, and none of us had set a password to the device.” Weisbach told Heatstreet. “My bad, as I had done other security measures at the tower and the studio but failed to password protect this device. You can bet it is now.”
Nothing on the internet is entirely safe from hackers. However, it is crucial to keep firmware updates in order to avoid intrusions the best you can.
Now that radio stations are stepping into the digital age, they also need to ensure their website is safe. It is vital for radio stations to check, double-check and triple-check their internet security. This will minimise hacks and intrusions like these happening…