Yup. You read that correctly. However in reality, this is both funny and not funny. When you think of things that shouldn’t be messed around with, one of them is DEFINITELY public alert systems. Unfortunately, warning systems haven’t had the best year, ranging from the false emergency alert from Hawaii accidentally informing the public of an incoming missile that didn’t exist to the Department of Justice’s Amber Alert site errors that redirected visitors to pornography websites (which was really, REALLY not good; but you didn’t need me to tell you THAT) to the National Weather Service’s false tsunami warning. It’s possible that something similar occurred when the City of Lake Worth, Florida sent out a “zombie alert” during a power outage around 1:45 AM this past Sunday morning.
The message reads “There are now far less than seven-thousand-three-hundred-eighty customers involved due to extreme zombie activity,” perpetuating the idea that there are fewer customers now because many of them became zombies. Also, take note of the part of the message that says the alert was for “residents of Lake Worth and Terminus,” as Terminus is a location in The Walking Dead, so it appears very likely that Lake Worth’s public alert system was hacked and the message was sent as a joke. According to the city public information officer, Ben Kerr statements to Gizmodo:
“We first became aware of the zombie messages during Hurricane Irma. The actual power systems were not in any way compromised. This is a separate messaging system that at some point has been compromised. They just added a zombie fantasy.”
Kerr added that he’s unsure when the culprit infiltrated the system and changed the messages, but the city noticed several zombie-themed outage alerts going out during the August 2017 hurricane. However, at that time, the city was able to find and remove those messages before the public noticed. It turns out that Lake Worth’s set up their electric utility system to automatically send out some of the thousands of pre-programmed messages alerts when power outages occur. Essentially, at some point whoever gained access into their system messed with and changed some of the messages into zombie jokes. Kerr added that while the event is currently under investigation and all zombie-related messages have been removed from the system that “Hopefully the next time there is a zombie invasion alert, it will be a real zombie invasion.”