Grandmother Alana Meeks, of Indianapolis, Indiana, says for the past week her family has been getting harassing messages from a very unusual source...their AT&T cable box. As WXIN Fox 59 reports, an unknown hacker is somehow taking control of the box and typing out messages. “He says he’s a stalker,” recounted Meeks. “This stuff is uncanny. I’ve never heard of nothing like this in my life.”
Some are harassing, like ‘ISEEUHAHA,’ still others are serious violent threats to Meek’s 9-year-old granddaughter. Meeks said, “He wants to do more than hurt her. He wants to have sex with her. Pervert.” Young Aniya is reportedly, “scared to death.” To the anonymous hacker, Meeks asserted, “If you want me, come get me. You know where I’m at, but you can’t have my grand baby.”
The family tried replacing the cable box, but that did not remedy the situation. They called police, who witnessed the unwelcome messages and filed a recent report about the incident. Meeks also covered her windows in an effort to stop the harassment, but again, the messages continued.
During WXIN's visit to the family’s home, they caught new messages from the stalker on camera as they came in (you can watch the footage here). The unknown hacker knew that the news crew was there and typed “FOX59” on the TV screen.
As AT&T works with Meeks to determine a solution, she says she just wants, “…this [person] out of my life. I want [this person] to go to jail. Because that’s where [this person] needs to be, talking about [they] want to have sex with a nine-year-old child.”
The station reached out to expert Fred Cate, the research director of Indiana University’s Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, for insight into the family’s dilemma. Cate said, “It’s really astonishing. It’s spooky because there aren’t a lot of ways you can get into someone’s cable box.” The expert said that an infrared device, like a remote control, is the most common way to control the cable box, but that would require a line of sight from a close distance. Alternatively, Cate said the suspect could be using an infrared repeater. Either way, he said that the hacker would have had to secure physical access to the apartment or the area near a window at one time.
AT&T released a statement saying,
“We take security seriously and we are working with the customer to determine the cause and remedy of the situation.” - AT&T
Video and more info: WXIN