Virginia Beach police are investigating an incident in which cyber criminals reportedly hacked into a gas station pump and stole more than $13,600 worth of gasoline. Police said it happened at the CITGO gas station in Virginia Beach. Two men have been charged in connection with the crime. As police patrolled the area, officers on the midnight shift noticed an unusual number of people passing through the gas station after hours.
When officers began to investigate, they found a social media post that read, “Refill gas tonight at 11pm Don’t be late and share with others. All gas, 50% off, DM m .Fill gasoline”. The post caught the attention of the police and validated what they saw happening at the gas station. The individuals were approached at the gas station, who were later detained and interviewed.
Officials said cyber criminals used a remote device to hack into the pump and steal more than 400 gallons of fuel in the span of a few hours. The devices allowed them to bypass the computer and not record the sale. The owner of the gas station confirmed to the police that he had noticed a lack of fuel the previous week, but did not understand how. He said he lost $13,600 worth of gas in one week on top of the 600 gallons of gas taken that night. The police investigation revealed that people were receiving payments through CashApp and hacked the pumps through their device.
A cybersecurity expert and professor said the cybercriminals likely accessed the service station’s internal web system using a laptop.
The cybercriminals were able to hack some vulnerability in the WiFi system or through a company employee who opened the wrong email.
But experts say this type of hacking is highly sophisticated and suggests more people may be behind the crime.
“Someone had to create the malware, someone had to understand the software,” the expert explained. “It’s very sophisticated, but the criminals who actually run it may not be.”
“Ask questions before you click,” he said. “Now they can go in there and set it up so that on this day and at this time, [they can] dispense the gas.”
Police identified the suspects as Rashane Griffith, 24, and Devon Drumgoole, 21, both of Norfolk. The men were charged with theft, conspiracy and possession of hacking tools. Authorities say more charges could be filed.
Police are working to find out if this happened at other local stations. They advise stations that close overnight to review security camera footage to make sure they haven’t been victimized and recommend that they take extra precautions so it doesn’t happen to them in the future.