Gas station hackers give Detroit drivers 600 gallons of free fuel


  • Source:

Gas prices are a major point of pain for many Michigan drivers. Although we've become accustomed to $3 per gallon prices without going full Mad Max, it appears some people have had enough, with thieves managing to hack the Marathon gas station at Seven Mile and Southfield in broad daylight.

Police are currently looking for two suspects who compromised the gas station late last month, letting 600 gallons of fuel (at a value of $1,800) flow freely into the vehicles of some lucky Detroit patrons. As reported by WJBK Fox 2, at approximately 1 p.m. on June 23 the criminals allegedly used a remote hacking device that took away the gas station employee's ability to control the system.

Unable to use the software that controls the pumps, gas station attendant Aziz Awadh was powerless to stop the perpetrators. "I tried to stop it here from the screen but the screen's not working," Awadh told Fox 2. "I tried to stop it from the system; nothing working (sic)."

It's unclear whether the two suspects that hacked the gas station's controls were selling the confiscated fuel off-site, or were performing some sort of petrol Robin Hood vigilantism. However, as many as 10 cars used the pump during the hour and a half that the station went rogue.

Although there isn't a strong explanation for how the thieves managed to hack the software, it has been suggested that automation software used by gas stations are prone to security breaches. Earlier this year, Motherboard covered a report made by two Israeli security researchers that suggests that one automation software largely used by gas stations worldwide is checkered with vulnerabilities. Potential weaknesses suggest that hackers infiltrating this software could shut down the automation system, hijack credit card payments, steal credit and debit card numbers, and perform several other software-compromising crimes.

Whether these hackers were privy to the software holes of this particular Marathon's automation system remains unclear. But for some Detroit drivers, it was a particularly fruitful day at the pump.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.