Feeds

Duo deny LA traffic hack charges

The Hollywood Job

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

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. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.