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(Lake Worth Live/Facebook, Grandfailure/iStock)

Thousands in Florida Receive "Extreme Zombie Activity" Emergency Alert

PETER DOCKRILL, /BEYOND
23 MAY 2018

Nobody likes experiencing power outages, but spare a thought for the residents of Lake Worth in Florida, who recently found out shortages in their electricity supply involve "extreme zombie activity" in their local area.

 

A text alert sent to thousands of citizens in region on the weekend was phrased a little ambiguously, but repeated mentions of the Z word in the official alert seem to leave little doubt that an undead invasion is indeed taking place.

"Power outage and zombie alert for residents of Lake Worth and Terminus," the push alert reads.

"There are now far less than seven thousand three hundred and eight customers involved due to extreme zombie activity. Restoration time uncertain."

017 zombie alert 1(Lake Worth Live/Facebook)

A Facebook page for the Lake Worth community later clarified that the alert was genuine – and that power was restored in 27 minutes – but said information regarding the extreme zombie activity was, as it happens, false.

"We are looking into the reports that the system mentioned zombies," the city's public information officer, Ben Kerr, said in the statement.

"I want to reiterate that Lake Worth does not have any zombie activity currently and apologise for the system message."

As Gizmodo reports, Terminus is a location in The Walking Dead, so it looks like somebody hacked into Lake Worth's push alert system to insert in-joke zombie references to the world's foremost zombie-comic-book-TV-show adaptation.

 

Not that the prank is really all that funny in the era of things like the Hawaii false missile alert in January – although, according to Kerr, this particular zombie hack may predate that thankfully-also-faux emergency.

"We first became aware of the zombie messages during Hurricane Irma," Kerr told Gizmodo, in reference to the hurricane that hit Florida and other regions in August to September 2017.

"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."

So it looks like this fairly harmless hack doesn't actually do anything except insert a couple of snippets of zombie humour into legit alerts that are otherwise totally factual. Or, at least, that's what it used to do.

After this latest prank went out over the air, city officials say they've gone through the push alert system and deleted any last remaining zombie messages lurking in code.

"Hopefully the next time there is a zombie invasion alert," Kerr said, "it will be a real zombie invasion."

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