I'm located in southern California, and have noted an interesting sequence of events;
1)In a Barnes & Noble bookstore, I notice a copy of "Hacker 2600" magazine, buy it, and then read an article in about the fact that most modern soda machines have an accessible "machine status" menu, that you can reach by pressing a special sequence of the push buttons on the front of the machine. Once in the menu, you can retrieve various reports of the status, including how much money is in the machine.
2)I walk accross the street from the mall where the bookstore is, and wait for the trolly at the station. I notice there is a soda machine there. I try out the "hack" and it works. No one was watching, but I stopped before attracting attention.
3)About a week later, I watch a news report about multiple robberies of soda machines in San Diego County, with a slighty different M.O. in the three parts of the county where they were robbed (i.e. sometimes a cutting torch to open the security cage, sometimes a prybar, sometimes an abrasive cutting disk.)
I think that nefarious types used the info to determine which machines to target for robbing. Each machine can apparently hold about $700. Ironically, the magazine editorial spoke about freedom of information, and the usefullness of hackers discovering errors et al in various systems and that what is done usually a "service" to the citizens of the world.
I think that that can be correct, but in this case, it wasn't. However, it doesn't seem that there is any self regulation, or ethical code enforcement.
Has anyone else here read that magazine, have any opinions on my little tale, or care to share thoughts on this topic?