Two charged with hacking LA traffic lights

Two men have been charged with illegal computer access after they allegedly hacked in to the Los Angeles city traffic centre to turn off traffic lights at four intersections last August.

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Two men have been charged with illegal computer access after they allegedly hacked in to the Los Angeles city traffic centre to turn off traffic lights at four intersections last August.

The two men, both engineers with the city’s Automated Traffic Surveillance Centre, accessed city computers on the morning of Aug. 21, and were able to turn off signal control boxes just hours before a job action by city engineers, the LA district attorney said in a statement released late last week.

The accused were able to bar other city employees from accessing the computer system to put the lights back online. No accidents were reported, but it took four days to fix the city's traffic control system, the statement said.

Gabriel Murillo, 37, and Kartik Patel, 34, are both charged with unauthorised access of a computer. Murillo is also charged with identity theft, and Patel faces four counts of disruption or denial of computer services.

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