Traffic Hackers

Two traffic engineers in Los Angeles hacked into a traffic light control system with the intent to influence upcoming contract negotiations.
November 8, 2008, 11am PST | Tim Halbur
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"Gabriel Murillo, 39, and Kartik Patel, 36, who worked with the city's Automated Traffic Surveillance Center, each pleaded guilty to a single felony count of illegally accessing a city computer connected to the center.

The illegal access occurred hours before a job action in August 2006 by members of the Engineers and Architects Assn., which represents the engineers who run and maintain the city's traffic center. It took four days to get the traffic control system fully operational afterward and underscored the vulnerability of L.A.'s the complex system.

The breach, reported on Aug. 21, 2006 between 9:10 and 9:30 p.m., involved sending computer commands that disconnected four signal control boxes at critical intersections: Sky Way and World Way at LAX; Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Riverside Drive in the San Fernando Valley; Alvarado Street and Glendale Boulevard at Berkeley Avenue in Echo Park; and 1st and Alameda streets downtown."

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Published on Thursday, November 6, 2008 in Los Angeles Times
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