Dropped like a sack of taters

Today I witnessed probably one of the coolest things I think I’ve seen on the subway to date.

There was a small group of teenage kids standing just outside the turnstiles.  You could tell just by looking at them that they were up to no good.

Couldn’t really tell how old they were.  I’m guessing they were about 14 or 15 years old.  They were all pretty tall.  One was probably 6 feet tall.  But they looked young.  Really lanky.  Frankly, it was almost comical because they were really tall, super skinny, but had huuuuuuuuuge baggy pants and hoodies on.  Like all three of them could have fit into the same pair of pants at the same time.

Anyway, one of them made a dash for it to skip out on the fare and hop the turnstile.  They didn’t realize that leaning against the wall was a cop, just out of their view.

The cop ran over just as the second one was going over.  Both of the kid’s feet were in mid air when the cop went two hands on.  He snatched him out of mid air and in one clean motion dropped him chest first onto the ground.  It was amazing.

The kid that made it over already took off running.  The other kid who had not yet attempted the jump took off out of the station.  So two got away, but the look on their faces was priceless.

Cuffs on.  Game over.

MIT Kids: Turns Out We Have Our Own Hackers

Thanks though!

Wouldn’t you know it.  Just as the MTBA up north digs into their own issues with computer geeks hacking the CharlieCard, it turns out we have our own homegrown hackers right here in NYC.

I had written a post wishing the MIT students would come down here and beat up on the Metrocard system, but it turns out there was a few guys that already hit the jackpot…a $800,000 jackpot as a matter of fact.

Apparently, three guys discovered a vulnerable Metrocard machine at Penn Station that they somehow got to spit out cards.  They would then sell the rides.

However, it looks like they started the scam back in 2005, and it’s taken this long for them to arrest the guys.  An audit revealed the discrepancy, but who knows how long that took to uncover.

MIT Kids: Please come hack us!

Who knew all we needed was some MIT kids to help us get around any future fare hikes.

Apparently, some students at MIT made it a class project to hack the Boston subway system (aka the T).  As a matter of fact, the title of the project is: “The Anatomy of a Subway Hack: Breaking Crypto RFIDs & Magstripes of Ticketing Systems.”

Now, the students are computer security majors, so you can see the fit.

They planned to give their 80+ slide presentation at Defcon, a very large security conference.

However, the MTBA sued to have the presentation stopped.  A judge ordered a temporary restraining order keeping the presentation quiet.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) got involved to fight the order.

Anyway, the kids had successfully shown how to generate and reverse engineer CharlieCards and CharlieTickets, the Boston version of Metrocards.

They basically did in a semester what any professional hackers could do, but planed to use it as an educational tool.  Sure, stealing rides is illegal, but the bigger issue is that some students were able to beat a system pretty easily.

Makes me wonder what kind of havoc they could wreak with the Metrocard system.

Subway Security Bag Checks are Optional

In case you get stopped by an officer to search your bag on the subway (chances are extremely low), just keep in mind that letting them check is completely optional.  You don’t have to let NYPD officers go through your bag.  It’s totally up to you.  All the police can do is refuse to allow you on the train.

I always knew that…hell it says so right on the sign they have at the table.  However, I never really thought about it that much until I read this from a SUBWAYblogger commenter.

So if a terrorist were to get stopped for an inspection, all they would have to do is say no, and get on the train somewhere else.

Kinda scary.

WOW. Gun Show on the Subway

Holy hell, did you see all the guns on the subway today?  Apparently, it’s all part of “Operation TORCH,” a new federally funded security initiative.

The NYPD received a $30 million grant to increase subway security in a major way.  However, it seems like they are only focusing on major subway hubs. 

The police units, part of a new program called Operation TORCH, will focus on major transit hubs, including Times Square, Herald Square and Grand Central Terminal, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. [1010 WINS]

I’m not sure what good that does.  I guess it deters an attack from those stations.  However, a terrorist could just get on at a different stop!

All they would have to do is get on a random stop and ride straight into Times Square or Grand Central and detonate a bomb.  So I don’t think it makes it any safer from a terrorism perspective.

On a petty crime level like purse snatching and pickpocketing, that will probably go down on the fortified stations, but that’s probably about it.