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Hackers Successfully Disable San Francisco Light-Rail System

Update Date: Nov 29, 2016 08:21 AM EST

It was an unexpected surprise for Municipal Railway riders in San Francisco this weekend as the system's computerized fair systems were apparently hacked. Muni got aware of the intrusion on Friday and Saturday when the riders were greeted with Metro Free and Out of Service signs on the ticket machines.

A message was displayed on the computer screens at Muni station displaying terms like you are hacked, all your data is encrypted and contact for the key. The agency is working its level best to resolve the issue.

The Verge reported that a hacker by the same name was linked with Morph Labs in September. This link was based on ransomware strain termed "Mamba" and it employs tactics similar to what were demonstrated against Muni.

Several other Californian organizations have faced such an issue. Hollywood Presbyterian, which is a Medical Center, earlier this year discovered that a ransom of $3.6 million was demanded for its files that were being held by the hackers. Such an incident occurs when a malicious site is executed on the computer after download. The files get decrypted if the victim pays the demanded ransom.

According to reports from Mashable, it was because of the hack that the transit gate fares were locked in the open position. Hence the transit organization was unable to charge the fares. To resolve the issue Muni simply offered free rides to the customers on Friday.

In addition to this, the ticketing machines of the organization displayed a message in red letters, saying that the machine is out of service. Finally, Muni managed to plaster the ticketing machines with hand written notes so as to cover the screen that was displaying free entry.

The hack also affected the organization's email system. It is a matter of concern for muni employees as few of them might not be paid this week in the wake of the system hack.

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