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Graffiti artist not a hacker after all

Graffiti artist not a hacker after all

The artist's logo appeared on at least ten ClearChannel billboards and lead people to believe they had been hacked.

The worlds of computer hackers and graffiti artists had officially merged this week, thanks to a what appeared at first glance to be a pretty audacious penetration of ClearChannel's digital billboard system in Los Angeles.

Skullphone, an eighteen year old graffiti artist and hacker, allegedly cracked into the storage systems responsible for the animated advertising used on the digital signposts and inserted his own logo amongst the official images.

Although the artist has a MySpace profile – as is almost mandatory amongst disaffected teens the world over – he's keeping shtum on the whys and wherefores of his latest unofficial art installation.

The reason why has quickly become clear, however: ClearChannel Outdoors, the company responsible for the signposts, has come forward to say that there was no hack. Instead, Skullphone simply rented space like any other advertiser. Company spokeswomen Jennifer Gray said in a statement that the artist “paid to get it up,” and that the logo “only ran for two days.”

This hasn't stopped numerous blogs and other news sites reporting the event as a 'hack' – something which I'm sure has done the graffiti artist's reputation no harm whatsoever, and certainly accounts for his silence on the matter.

Even so, the display of Skullphone's logo on digital advertising signs is indicative of two things: the first is that graffiti artists will do pretty much anything to gain notoriety, including pay actual money; the second is that advertising brokers like ClearChannel will accept money from anyone, even an eighteen year old artist who just wants to see his logo in lights for a couple of days.

Are you disappointed that Skullphone isn't the 1337 h4xx0r that he first appeared to be, or do you think he still got one over on the advertising companies? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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Paradigm Shifter 27th March 2008, 11:45 Quote
Well, it got him his 15 minutes of fame... ;)
Cthippo 27th March 2008, 12:04 Quote
Quote:
Company spokeswomen Jennifer Gray said in a statement that the artist “paid to get it up,”

Wow, I hadn't heard Clear Channel bought out the Emporer's Club after that whole Spitzer thing. Just goes to show they'll do anything for a buck.
MrMonroe 27th March 2008, 14:57 Quote
If it's true he paid for the space, then the title of this article is incorrect: he is neither a hacker nor a graffiti artist.
Bluephoenix 27th March 2008, 15:17 Quote
this affects the world how???? :|
Flibblebot 27th March 2008, 15:31 Quote
I can't imagine it was cheap to buy up ad space, even if only just for a couple of days.
r4tch3t 27th March 2008, 22:29 Quote
Complete waste of money, then again so is graffiti.
Starfighter 27th March 2008, 23:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
Complete waste of money...

His name on the front page of news sites around the world? His name being talked about by hundreds of thousands of people? Some of them even visiting his myspace page? You will of course note this chappie has his own online store to buy skullphone merchandise from ;)

Money well spent in this case methinks...
Cthippo 27th March 2008, 23:57 Quote
Probably around $600-ish. I looked into billboard advertising when i was last searching for a g/f.

Hey, when you're as weird as I am, you gotta advertise!
eternum 28th March 2008, 00:23 Quote
Brilliant idea! Not a fan of grafitti art myself (even the legit kind), but the guy was original. Expect to see MANY imitators now, but he's got dibs on the first. Considering that he's got merchandise with the logo he just guaranteed the sale of his "brand".
completemadness 28th March 2008, 04:55 Quote
Unless their just saying that? I mean, who wants their customers to know that a 18yr old kid can hack into their systems and do whatever he wants
Imagine if he had put pictures of naked women up, that could have got them in a whole heap of trouble

It wouldn't surprise me if he agreed to keep schtumm in return for not being sued/attacked by the police
feldm4n 29th March 2008, 22:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
Unless their just saying that? I mean, who wants their customers to know that a 18yr old kid can hack into their systems and do whatever he wants
Imagine if he had put pictures of naked women up, that could have got them in a whole heap of trouble

It wouldn't surprise me if he agreed to keep schtumm in return for not being sued/attacked by the police

Bingo! ;)
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