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Washington State University’s Projectors Hacked To Play November 5th Message

An unknown Washington State University student took control of two-dozen in-class projector units this November 5th, causing them to play a pre-recorded spoof of the televised speech given by the protagonist/antagonist/terrorist/anarchist character V of the movie V for Vendetta, exhorting his fellow students to rise up a year hence against a terrible threat encroaching on their school:

Squirrels.

(England, I’d like to apologize on behalf of America for the comical extent to which we have misinterpreted your holiday about anti-Catholicism and the defeat of violent fringe elements.)

The considerate prankster left instructions on how to remove the bit of software that ran the videos on the hour, every hour, through most of November 5th on the website they created for the video:

One final note to the AMS people: We didn’t break your computers. They will be back to normal at 5:01 PM. Don’t worry about it. (Unless you tampered with them, in which case you should run the script “c:vuninstall.bat” as Administrator. This script will cleanly remove and reverse all modifications made to the systems.)

Despite the relative nonviolent, non-vandalism, and impermanent nature of the prank, some WSU officials are framing it as “terrorism.” In an e-mail to the WSU student newspaper, the hacker acknowledged:

Some officials seem to be taking what should be interpreted as a simple prank out of context. I have been told that the police are after me. I am and was aware of this possibility; they’re only trying to do their job. If I did my job, they will have a very difficult time finding me. I just hope they realize I’m not worth the effort. There are real criminals out there; they deserve far more attention than I…

Student reactions run from initial moments of shock and fear that led to amusement (once they realized the speech was about squirrels) to annoyance from having an important satellite lecture interrupted.  The hacker maintained that the squirrels in his speech were meant literally: they were not a metaphor for anything else; he was simply trying to get students to “take a more active role in both this university and their future.”

The WSU video is below:

A transcript can be found here, and you can compare with the speech it is based on here.

(via io9.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.