Commuters driving to work were greeted by an obscene message when they arrived at Crawley, West Sussex, on Thursday morning.
Digital roadside signs, which usually give information about parking availability, instead urged visitors to "Fuck off" after hackers gained remote access to the displays. Three of the 11 Variable Message Signs on approach roads to the town carried the expletive.
"The hackers gained remote access to our computer at 6.45am. The first we knew of it was a phone call from a member of the public two hours later," a council spokesman said."Our IT staff had the message removed by 9.05am. I think people realise that this was not the work of the council, but we apologise for any offence. Some people found it rather amusing.
"Under the message were the initials TOTSE, suggesting that this was the work of the
US-based online community of that name. Why they picked on Crawley, I have no idea."