Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Hacker cracks high-speed rail system: police

FED UP:The self-styled ‘white hat’ hacker said on Facebook he does not want to admit being Taiwanese and has ‘given up on Taiwan’ after this incident

By Huang Chieh and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chang Chi-yuan, who allegedly hacked into Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s ticket booking system last year, demonstrates his methods for Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau investigators in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau

Chang Chi-yuan (張啟元) last month hacked Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s (台灣高鐵) online ticketing system, tweaking the refund process to return NT$200,000, police said yesterday.

Chang used his cellphone to purchase a NT$40 ticket from Nangang Station to Taipei Railway Station, then immediately requested a refund, police said.

A company employee noticed the abnormal refund amount and reported the incident to the Taipei office of the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, police said.

An affidavit on Wednesday said that Chang admitted to making the changes and seeking the altered refund, but added that he hacked the system to prove that it was vulnerable.

“Had I received the NT$200,000, I would have returned it to the company,” the affidavit read.

Chang was released on bail of NT$100,000 after the office charged him with alleged breaches of the Criminal Code, police said.

Chang is a self-proclaimed “white hat” hacker, a computer security expert who specializes in testing systems for vulnerabilities.

Chang last year reportedly hacked the Apple Pay system and purchased 502 iPhones for NT$1, while in 2013 he drew the attention of Facebook after using a loophole to delete posts by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

In 2015, Chang was sued by a local bus operator after infiltrating its online system and buying a ticket for NT$1. While Chang returned the ticket and warned the company of the weakness in its system, the company pressed charges.

Chang was sentenced to 60 days in prison, which was commuted to a NT$60,000 fine.

Chang yesterday wrote on Facebook that he despaired of being Taiwanese after his most recent run-in with law enforcement.

He said that he did not want to admit to being Taiwanese.

“I have already given up on Taiwan,” he wrote.

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