Feeds

Duo deny LA traffic hack charges

The Hollywood Job

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A pair of Los Angeles traffic system engineers have been charged with manipulating traffic signals to disrupt transportation across the city in the run-up to a union protest last August.

Gabriel Murillo, 37 and Kartik Patel, 34, were each charged with one count of unauthorized access of a computer. Mutillo also faces an identity theft charge while Patel has been accused of four disruption of service offences. Prosecutors alleged the pair, engineers at in LA's Automated Traffic Surveillance Center, used purloined supervisor credentials to send commands to reprogram signal control boxes at four critical intersections.

Murillo allegedly accessed codes so that only he and Patel could make changes to the system, blocking other workers from sorting out the escalating chaos. The hack succeeded despite plans by managers to temporarily prevent any engineers making changes to the city's traffic control systems.

In a scenario reminiscent of the hack performed in the classic crime flick The Italian Job, the duo allegedly made changes that meant the light stayed at red for a long time on congested approaches, creating huge traffic jams in the process. Traffic was affected at four intersections - Sky Way and World Way near LAX airport, a major junction in Studio City, a spot in Little Tokyo and near the LA Civic Center, the LA Times reports.

Although no accidents were reported it took four days to bring systems back to normal.

The attack occurred hours before a job action by members of the Engineers and Architects Association. Jane Robison of the District Attorney's Office described the timing of the disruption as "more than a coincidence," CBS reports. It's unclear whether or not Murillo and Patel are members of the union but that's beside the point, according to prosecutors.

"This amounts to sabotage and is not to be tolerated no matter what the dispute or cause," said District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Murillo and Patel were charged by the D.A.’s newly formed high tech crimes division on Friday following an investigation by the LAPD's Computer Crimes Unit. Both men denied the charges at a hearing on Monday and were released on bail, the LA Times adds. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.