Two males arrested for allegedly hacking JFK taxi dispatch system

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Two US residents have been arrested and accused of conspiring with Russian nationals to hack the taxi dispatch system at John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport (JFK), charging cab drivers a $10 charge to entry the entrance of the queue between September 2019 and September 2021.

Daniel Abayev and Peter Leyman (each 48 and from Queens, New York) first efficiently hacked the dispatch system in 2019 with the assistance of unnamed Russian nationals, based on a DOJ indictment filed within the Southern District of New York. Leyman and Abayev accessed the system to maneuver particular taxis to the entrance of the road, says the DOJ, charging drivers a $10 charge for the privilege. Members of the hacking scheme additionally supplied to waive the $10 charge in change for recruiting extra taxi drivers.

The JFK taxi dispatch system ensures cab drivers have a good working atmosphere, however may end up in prolonged wait occasions between journeys

The pc-controlled JFK taxi dispatch system manages how cabs are dispatched between the airport’s holding lot and terminal. The system was launched to create a good working atmosphere, however wait occasions of a number of hours can impression a taxi driver’s day by day earnings.

The hackers utilized group chats to speak with taxi drivers and advise them the right way to keep away from detection by legislation enforcement. In response to the indictment, Leyman and Abayev authorized as many as 1,000 journeys a day and transferred no less than $100,000 to the hackers in Russia as “fee for software program growth.”

Prosecutors allege that the pair explored a number of methods to hack the system, together with bribing somebody to contaminate its computer systems with malware through a flash drive, stealing related laptop tablets, and accessing the dispatch system with out authorization through Wi-Fi. The indictment claims that members of the hacking scheme additionally despatched messages to one another wherein they explicitly mentioned their intention to hack the dispatch system. “I do know that the Pentagon is being hacked[.]. So, can’t we hack the taxi trade[?]” Abayev messaged a Russian conspirator in November 2019.

Each males face a most 10-year sentence in jail if discovered responsible for his or her alleged cybercrimes

“For years, the defendants’ hacking saved sincere cab drivers from with the ability to choose up fares at JFK within the order wherein they arrived,” mentioned U.S. Lawyer Damian Williams in a press release. “Now, due to this Workplace’s teamwork with the Port Authority, these defendants are dealing with critical legal expenses for his or her alleged cybercrimes.”

Each males have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit laptop intrusion, which carries a most 10-year sentence in jail if confirmed responsible.

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