1987 November 22 Tonight, WGN, a Chicago-based television station, airs yesterday night at 9pm.
As the news of the sport begins, sports journalist Dan Roan tells of the Chicago Bears' victory over the Detroit Lions and the highlights of the match were on display.
In other words, everything went right. For some time. Around 9pm, Roan disappeared suddenly from the television screens at 14pm and they were briefly dimmed.
After 15 seconds, the image returned. But Roo's viewers are no longer on the TV screen. They saw a strange human head. His face was covered with a rubber mask and sunglasses.
His look resembled Max Headroom, the protagonist of the then-American science fiction series Max Headroom. As a result, he was later named Max Headroom. Behind him was a gray rotating background.
There was almost no sound – just a buzz. But the view was frightening. The figure of a TV burglar just swayed sideways. Video of the incident can be seen below.
After about half a minute, WGN engineers changed the broadcast frequency and Roan returned to the TV screens.
"If you don't understand what just happened here … Ha ha … you know, I don't understand either," he said, losing nothing less than the audience.
Shortly before, broadcasting resumed. Engineers, too, assuming the aether had to be "kidnapped" by a man in the building, demanded a masked burglar. However, it was later revealed that the hacker had previously made the video for the hacker.
Below you can see what Max Realm looked like after the hacker created his image.
A photo of Vida Press / Real Max Head Service looked like this
And the weird evenings didn't end there.
Two hours later, Max Headroom could be seen by other TV viewers. This time it was WWTW – another regional television station.
11 pm 15pm WWTW airs the fantastic series "Doctor Who" on "Rock of Horror". Then, as in the first case, the broadcast suddenly stopped.
Soon, a picture of the same masked figure reappeared on TV screens.
It was the same post: Max Head rotated sideways with a face mask. Unlike the first case, however, the sound was heard this time. You can see the whole post below.
"Already nice. He's a shameful kid, "the figure said at the beginning of the post. The hacker's voice was deliberately distorted.
Then Max Head laughed. And he mentioned the name of one of the WGN TV presenters, claiming to be better for him.
He then raised Pepsi's cans as he uttered the then-promotional slogan "Coca-Cola" "catch the wave". At the time, the real Max Headroom (not a hacker, but a TV series character) was just one of Coca-Cola's commercials.
Soon things became even more strange. The burglar flipped the camera, raising a middle finger covered with a forearm. He began to stupid "your love dies …", the lyrics to the popular song "Temptations" (I know) I'm losing you. "
Then he began to mumble phrases from various TV shows. Then he began to complain. Shortly afterwards, he said he had "created a masterpiece for all fans of the world's best newspaper." "The World's Largest Newspaper" was the full name of the WGN television channel that Max Hedrom captured during his first appearance.
Finally, Max Gloves put on a rubber glove and said, "My brother wears a second glove." Then she added: "But she's dirty! It looks like there is bloodshed on it! “
Then the figure disappeared from the video and the large video showed a Max Head mask with a rubber throat in his mouth. Finally, the video began to show footage of the man's waist and partially exposed buttocks left by a woman with a fly.
"Coming they arrest me!" Max Basic said at once.
All this took 1 minute 22 seconds. Then the screen dimmed for a moment, then the broadcast of a Doctor who continued as nowhere.
It later emerged that there was no engineer in the TV tower that housed the WWTW television transmitter at the time of the incident that could have simply shut off the transmitter. And in the studio itself, former engineers couldn't solve the problem.
No hacker found
For some Chicagoans the situation was funny, some were upset and some upset that their favorite TV broadcast had suddenly stopped. Because many fans of Doctor Who recorded the series they watched on video tapes, recordings and videos of the hacker.
The next day, both television channels reported the incident through the news, and the hacker's video was repeated several times. He was summoned by the news leaders of "TV Video Pirate".
However, even if for some viewers the situation turned out to be funny, it was not for the US government. CCC, the US agency responsible for regulating communications in the country, has launched a search for a mysterious hacker and has promised a reward for anyone providing more information.
Under US law, unauthorized blocking of a communication signal is considered a crime.
"I want to announce that $ 100k is available for these stocks. or a year in jail or both, "said JKF's first day, Phil Bradford, the next day.
Understanding government concerns is possible – they were worried that if anyone succeeded in disrupting the signal sent by the Soviet satellite spying on the Soviet Union, it might not transmit important information and would cause serious damage to national security.
Some time later, CCC determined how the burglar acted. He set up a satellite dish between the television studio and the antenna of the television tower, which continued to broadcast the waves. Then he was able to "intervene" with the signal from his studio to the tower with the signal from his antenna.
It turned out not to require too expensive equipment – just to figure out where to place the antenna correctly.
Photo by Lithuanian Radio and Television Center / Satellite Nera
Investigators were also able to determine where the burglar was filming the video. It turned out that the clip was probably shot just outside the door of a nearby warehouse – much like the background seen in the clip.
But the riddle that there is a man hiding under the guise remained unanswered. It is also unclear whether he acted alone or with the help of others.
Max Headroom has never tried to hijack a TV signal again. It seems that the burglar, however, was simply content with his job and decided to stop expressing his identity anyway.
Of course, there were many rumors about Max Headroom. But the truth never came to light. Until now, the motives of the burglar – whether it's a strange art project or political message or just a desire to fool around and see if such a hacker or something else is possible – are still unclear.
It wasn't the only kidnapped TV in US history. There were a few more, but this was the only time the identity and motives of the burglar remained unclear. Other similar hijackers simply used the opportunity to send a political message.
The end of the era of analogue television and the transition of televisions around the world into digital transmitted signals means that it is now much more difficult to capture TV broadcasts as Max Hardware has managed.