Hilariously Geeky License Plate Earns Hacker All the Tickets

first_img Who doesn’t love a good, geeky prank? A security researcher who uses the handle Droogie certainly does, and he likes to stick it to the man, too. Unfortunately, sometimes when you combine the two actions things can backfire. Spectacularly, even.You see, Droogie wanted to have a little fun at the expense of those annoying, privacy-invading Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs). He figured that by literally assigning a null value to his car he’d essentially become invisible to them. Regardless of whether or not that was his actual decision-making process, it’s still fantastic.Droogie paid for and received vanity plates that read “NULL.” Everything was fine until the day he received a ticket for a parking violation.The very plates that he joked would make him invisible to the system were now in that system. That’s when things went off the rails.While Droogie’s custom plates were the only ones that actually read NULL in the real world, that wasn’t quite the case in the ticket database. There were scores of other nulls queued up — likely due to the system failing to gather all the necessary data on those vehicles.A highly relevant xkcdWhen a real NULL showed up with complete driver and mailing information, the floodgates opened. Droogie received ticket after ticket. The misdirected fines totaled just over $12,000.He called the DMV and LAPD to set the record straight and reversed all but his own ticket. They also advised him to change his plates, which he did not. “I said, ‘No, I didn’t do anything wrong,’” Droogie told the crowd of DEF CON attendees as he told them about his misadventure.Despite his report, the system continues to send him errant tickets. He’s received another $6,000 worth already.One other way that having NULL on your plates messes with the system: it makes them hard to renew online. Droogie tried and was told his entry was invalid.Watch: Hackers Steal $32M in Cryptocurrency From Japanese ExchangeMore of Geek.com:Raspberry Pi Used to Steal 500 MB of NASA DataMIT ‘Hackers’ Transform Great Dome Into Cap’s ShieldYouTube Cracks Down on Dangerous Challenges, Pranks Stay on target Raspberry Pi Used to Steal 500 MB of NASA DataNetflix Hacks Highlight What Could Be last_img read more