People Enjoy Free Rides After Ransomware Hack Shut San Francisco Transit System


Short Bytes: San Francisco Municipal Railway aka Muni was compromised with hackers taking control of around 2000 computers on the network. A ransom of 100 Bitcoins has been asked by the hackers. Also, Muni was made free for the commuters on Saturday as the payment machines didn’t work.

The Black Friday weekend for San Francisco commuters ended with free rides in the Muni — one of the largest transit systems in the USA. Most of the people assumed the fare gates were opened as some sort of thanksgiving offering. But, in reality, the system was compromised by hackers who asked for a ransom.

According to the report published by San Francisco Examiner, the following message appeared on the computers at Muni stations:

“You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key([email protected])ID:681 ,Enter.”

Image: Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner

The news came into light on Saturday but the system was compromised on Friday night, a station employee, who asked not to be named, told Examiner.

The ticket machine at the stations was also down with “Out of Service” and “Metro Free” messages displayed on the screens. San FranCisco MTA spokesperson, Paul Rose, said that details can not be revealed at the moment as the investigation is going on.

It’s not known how many systems were compromised on the network that has more than 8000 computers and the personal data of around 6000 employees.

Hacker Claims that More than 2000 computers were affected

Following the reports on Sunday, the hackers demanded a ransom of 100 bitcoins (USD 72,000) in return for freeing 2112 machines they have taken under their control. Andy Saolis, a name used by hackers to address emails, said that hackers only want money and the exchange deal would be live till Monday.

The hackers also told that the SFMTA authorities didn’t contact them. “Maybe they need learning something in hard-way!,” wrote Saolis in an email.

By late Sunday, many computers at the transit system were restored to normal working. It was not known how may were still inoperable.

Also Read: Locky Ransomware Is Now Using JPG Images On Facebook & LinkedIn To Hack Your PC

Aditya Tiwari

Aditya Tiwari

Aditya likes to cover topics related to Microsoft, Windows 10, Apple Watch, and interesting gadgets. But when he is not working, you can find him binge-watching random videos on YouTube (after he has wasted an hour on Netflix trying to find a good show). Reach out at [email protected]
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