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Budapest police arrest hacker for revealing bug in e-Ticket system

While tech giants and even the US government spend money on bug bounty programs to find security vulnerabilities in their infrastructures, Hungarian authorities arrested an 18-year-old for hacking and reporting a bug that allowed travelers to set their own ticket price in the public transport ticket system, writes Laszlo Marai, an independent researcher.

The bug could, for example, be easily used to change the 9500HUF price for a monthly pass to 50HUF.

According to Marai, the Budapest e-Ticket system had a significant number of vulnerabilities and no security protocols. Expecting a high number of visitors, the system was rushed to market for the FINA world championships in Budapest. The launch was on July 14, the day of the event’s official opening, although “there was no serious testing involved,” explained Marai.

The system is web-based with no automatic https redirect, so hacking is effortless. If a user forgets the password and can’t register, they can request a new password which will be sent in an email. The passwords are stored in clear text and the admin password is “adminadmin” that can be used to access the system.

Also, iPhone owners had a hard time with the ticket system because it wasn’t compatible with Safari.

To register with the system, the user must fill in information such as name, ID number and address. The data has to be real because Budapest Transport Authority employees check the tickets. All the data is exposed and can be easily collected through URL manipulation, Marai says.

T-Systems Hungary is owned by a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, the company that fell victim to a massive DDoS attack launched by an IoT botnet a few months ago.

About the author

Luana PASCU

From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.

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  • While I don't agree with it, I can kind of understand why the hacker would be arrested, even if they did it with good intentions. However, after reading the full article, I'd say other people are more deserving of an arrest for gross negligence…