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October 13, 2023

San Francisco Parking Meter Hack

If you live in san francisco and don’t want to shell out for a parking garage, there are still plenty of ways to get free street parking. You can try snooping around to see where people park their cars (the secret is to look for the smallest vehicles) or you can use a san francisco parking meter hack to get your money’s worth.

San Francisco is among many cities that are switching to smarter meters, which can accept credit cards instead of just squabbled-over coins. But the system has hit a snag: It’s easy for a technically savvy hacker to make a fake card that gives them unlimited free parking. The researchers, who are speaking at Black Hat this week, say they built the fake cards in just three days and could do the same with different makes of meters.

The researchers, Joe Grand, Jacob Appelbaum, and Chris Tarnovsky, were able to hack the meters because they are so cheaply made. They figured out that the meters’ microprocessors do not have any security protections. They also found that the meters do not perform an upper-bound check on the card’s transaction count, meaning a hacker can easily boost the number of transactions beyond what the card is capable of buying legitimately.

It’s not the first time that hackers have figured out how to beat the latest technology. Last year, three MIT undergrads discovered that the electronic fare-payment systems used by Boston’s subway transit were vulnerable to attack. But the MIT students were prevented from talking about their work at Defcon because of a restraining order that was obtained by the city before they spoke out.