Authorities in Detroit are still looking for two suspects who allegedly hijacked a gas pump and stole 600 gallons of fuel, valued at about $1,800.
The incident happened in daylight on June 23 and went on for about 90 minutes at a Marathon gas station in downtown Detroit. The gas station clerk was unable to prevent the theft during that time because the hackers reportedly took control of the gas pump station via a remote device, thus, disabling him from further making adjustments on the system.
"I tried to stop it here from the screen but the screen's not working. I tried to stop it from the system; nothing working," the clerk, Aziz Awadh, told Fox2Detroit.
Awadh said he was only able to shut down the pump after he found the emergency kit. He then called the cops. However, the hackers still managed to pilfer gallons upon gallons of fuel.
Detroit Gas Station Theft
The hackers reportedly had 10 vehicles with them, which they completely filled within 90 minutes. Fortunately, the hackers' faces were captured on camera thanks to closed-circuit television.
Currently, there isn't a lot of information to go on about the hack itself. Gizmodo speculates that the attackers targeted the fuel-management software the gas station used. Earlier this year, Motherboard reported that at least one maker of a gas station software was vulnerable to attacks that would allow malicious attackers to manipulate gas prices and even steal fuel.
Hacking Internet-Connected Devices
Such systems have long been considered at risk because many of them incorporate web-based interfaces. It was reported in 2015 that various gas monitoring systems were easy to locate online via Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices. Most of the systems found on Shodan were found to have no password protection, opening it for potential manipulation suppose a hacker with enough knowledge gets access.
The incident in Detroit isn't the first gas theft by hacking, though. Just a few days before the Marathon hacking, a man in Texas was accused of developing a device that can steal $800 worth of fuel from a gas station. The internet is also rife with videos about how to get free gas, which police believe informed the perps' practices.
Investigations on the incident in Detroit continue as of this writing. The Detroit Police Department has requested the public to share information with the authorities in case they know anything about the thieves.