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Two Engineers Send Computer Commands To Disrupt L.A.’s Traffic Center

Two prominent engineers of city transportation have been held for damaging signal lights at airport and road crossings while a labor union contract dispute was on.

The duo named Gabriel Murillo, 37 and Kartik Patel, 34 allegedly hacked computers to cut off signal lights at Sky Way and World Way at Los Angeles International Airport, 1st and Alameda streets in Little Tokyo, Glendale Boulevard at Berkeley Avenue in Echo Park, and Coldwater Canyon Avenue at Riverside Drive in Studio City.

Gabriel Murillo was held for committing two offenses one relating to an illegal intrusion into a computer and the other relating to identity theft. Kartik Patel was held for one case of illegally accessing a PC and four cases of denial or disruption of computer services.

These engineers attached to the city's Automated Traffic Surveillance Center were to be put on trial on January 8, 2007. While on their duty the pair allegedly rigged the automated traffic surveillance center and planted commands through the computer to disconnect four signal control set up at critical junctions, said the County District Attorney's Office at Los Angeles.

The two persons, on August 21, 2006 hacked the vital system between 9:10 and 9:30 pm. This was a few hours before the Engineers and Architects Association was going to perform a certain job duty. The union operates on behalf of the engineers and 7,500 city workers who keep the city's traffic center working and in proper condition. The District Attorney's office was not sure if the two were members of the union but according to officer Jane Robison, the denial of the computer service was not just a coincidence.

Murillo is suspected to access codes so only he and Patel could manipulate the system closing all opportunities for other managers to rectify the problem. The prosecutors said the two engineers did this to bar transportation managers from setting the program right and reactivating the traffic lights, for four days at length. Fortunately no accidents occurred during that time.

District Attorney Steve Cooley said it was a clear case of sabotage and intolerable no matter what the cause.

Related article: THE SPAM MAFIA

» SPAMfighter News - 11-01-2007

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