SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Muni stations across the region received a “You hacked. All data encrypted,” message across computers on Saturday, November 26. The fare payment machines would not read any payment and a message across the screen reading, “Out of Service” in red lettering prevailed. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Spokesperson Paul Rose, indicated rail transit was not impacted.
One Muni employee Muni—who wishes to be unnamed due to “work-related retaliation”, alleged to the station being hacked since Friday before Rose confirmed the hack later this evening. Rose did not comment on whether or not Muni had been hacked. He stated: “There is an ongoing investigation and it wouldn’t be appropriate to provide additional details.”
Some SFMTA employees reported that they were unable to log into their email accounts, but it has not been confirmed as to whether or not the nearly 6,000 other employees were also affected by the recent hack.
The person who may have been responsible for the “hack” has asked for a $70,000 ransom in exchange for the transit agency data that was seized in the malware attack.
The “hacked” Muni computer screens were contacted by someone going by the name of Andy Saolis, reported the SF Examiner.
“We do this for money, nothing else! I hope it’s help to company to make secure IT before we coming!” the hackers wrote.
The style of their email response aligned with the writing displayed on the crashed Muni screens, which read: “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key(email@example.com)ID:681, Enter.”
Saolis wrote in their email to the SF Examiner that the attack was not a targeted assault on transit agency computers by means of coding. The malware had infected an agency computer after an SFMTA employee downloaded it. He specified that they would only accept Bitcoin as currency. They demanded 100 Bitcoin, which amounts to around $73,000. They added that they had not been contacted by any SFMTA officials since the attack.
Saolis claimed that the ransom period will close on Monday.
Muni offered free rides were given to passengers on Muni’s light-rail vehicles all day. Officials have not released details regarding the identity of the suspect(s) responsible for the hack of the system.
Written By Prezleigh Moy and Aya Rashad