A cyber attack oddly gave San Franciscans something to be thankful for this weekend when officials responded to a hack of the city’s transit system by giving away free rides.
Friday night, the message “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted” began appearing on Muni station computer screens across San Francisco. Unable to charge customers for fare, transit authorities opened fare gates on Saturday to “minimize customer impact.”
According to The Register, the attack itself was a ransomware scheme asking for 100 bitcoins (about $73,000) to unlock more than 2,000 compromised transit system computers:
These systems appear to include office admin desktops, CAD workstations, email and print servers, employee laptops, payroll systems, SQL databases, lost and found property terminals, and station kiosk PCs. It appears the malware was able to reach the agency’s domain controller and compromise network-attached Windows systems. There are roughly 8,500 PCs, Macs and other boxes on the agency’s network.
After the vulnerable computers were infected and their storage scrambled, they were rebooted by malware and, rather than start their operating system, they instead displayed the message: “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted, Contact For Key (email@example.com) ID:601.”
Citing an unnamed transit authority source, KPIX-TV reports that the computer system had actually been hacked days beforehand, but officials declined to provide additional information on the attack.
“Because this is an ongoing investigation it would not be appropriate to provide additional details at this point,” a Muni spokesperson told the station.