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General Discussions => Tech Talk => Topic started by: CarbShark on August 15, 2019, 02:25:41 PM

Title: Tech Laughs
Post by: CarbShark on August 15, 2019, 02:25:41 PM


Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 | FiveThirtyEight (https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/significant-digits-for-thursday-aug-15-2019/)

Quote
$12,049 in traffic fines
A computer hacker in California secured for himself as a cheeky joke the vanity license plate “NULL,” a word often used in programing to indicate an empty or undefined value. As a result, he at one point faced $12,049 in traffic fines. Whenever a traffic cop in the state forgot to enter a license plate number along with a citation, it seems, the ticket got sent the hacker’s way.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Ron Obvious on August 15, 2019, 07:14:13 PM
I smell an urban legend. There's been a story going around since the early days of BBS and usenet about NOPLATE with similar results. I ran it myself on my own BBS in the early 80s.

Harder to imagine the word "NULL" being confused with NULL or "" in these days, though.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: arthwollipot on August 15, 2019, 07:57:22 PM
Seems relevant:

(https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/exploits_of_a_mom.png) (https://xkcd.com/327/)
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Calinthalus on August 16, 2019, 06:46:18 AM

I smell an urban legend. There's been a story going around since the early days of BBS and usenet about NOPLATE with similar results. I ran it myself on my own BBS in the early 80s.


Harder to imagine the word "NULL" being confused with NULL or "" in these days, though.
I read the story somewhere else. Boing Boing maybe.  Anyway, the story was a report from a guy telling the story on stage at DefCon.  Anyway, there are pictures of his presentation over at Mashable (https://mashable.com/article/dmv-vanity-license-plate-def-con-backfire).  Of course, it's a hacker convention so there's no telling that his story and screenshots are real.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on August 16, 2019, 07:17:27 AM
I couldn't find anything on Snopes about this.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Eternally Learning on August 16, 2019, 09:47:47 AM
Can't find confirmation of the story in the original link, but here's a similar story that seems legit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKTFI7LnPCc
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Noisy Rhysling on August 16, 2019, 10:58:04 AM
The ticket includes a description of the car in most places. If he appears before the judge for tickets given to >1,000 different cars he'd probably have a good case for dismissal.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: daniel1948 on August 16, 2019, 11:49:28 AM
True or not, I think it's a warning about vanity plates: If you fuck with government bureaucracy you're gonna get fucked. It's like making bomb jokes in an airport. You have the right of free speech, but they're going to make your life hell for a while. If you're doing it as a protest and you're willing to accept the consequences, more power to you. But be aware of the consequences going in.
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: CarbShark on August 16, 2019, 12:01:47 PM

I smell an urban legend. There's been a story going around since the early days of BBS and usenet about NOPLATE with similar results. I ran it myself on my own BBS in the early 80s.


Harder to imagine the word "NULL" being confused with NULL or "" in these days, though.
I read the story somewhere else. Boing Boing maybe.  Anyway, the story was a report from a guy telling the story on stage at DefCon.  Anyway, there are pictures of his presentation over at Mashable (https://mashable.com/article/dmv-vanity-license-plate-def-con-backfire).  Of course, it's a hacker convention so there's no telling that his story and screenshots are real.
The item was sourced to Wired, that may be  where you saw it.

https://www.wired.com/story/null-license-plate-landed-one-hacker-ticket-hell/


They did a little reporting and contacted the company and DMV and were able to verify some aspects of the story.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Tassie Dave on August 16, 2019, 07:12:32 PM
You can read a PDF of his DEFCON presentation. It seems like a legit experiment that backfired.

https://media.defcon.org/DEF%20CON%2027/DEF%20CON%2027%20presentations/DEFCON-27-droogie-go-null-yourself.pdf
Title: Re: Tech Laughs
Post by: Beef Wellington on August 26, 2019, 05:27:52 PM
The ticket includes a description of the car in most places. If he appears before the judge for tickets given to >1,000 different cars he'd probably have a good case for dismissal.

Sounds like he would have to do that every so often as the tickets keep coming. I don't think it would be worth the hassle.