It was literally a Black Friday surprise for the people in downtown San Francisco, not only for shopping but also for riding through San Francisco Municipal Railway, known as Muni locally. The Municipal Transportation Agency of the city has confirmed that Muni’s station computer system was apparently hacked Saturday, leading officials to open fare gates and commuters to enjoy a free ride.
Train service itself was unaffected, but the officials had to shut down ticket kiosks and otherwise make rides free on November 26th. According to CBS, the system has been hacked for days.
Screens at San Francisco Muni terminals said “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key(firstname.lastname@example.org)ID:681 ,Enter.” From that message, it seems to be a case of ransomware.
The ticket machines and fare gates are now working properly, but this incident has left some of the riders horrified and shocked.
“I think it is terrifying,” said one rider. “I really do I think if they can start doing this you know here, we’re not safe anywhere.”
Another straphanger said, “I was like, is this part of Black Friday deal, or something?”
The hackers also attacked Muni’s email system. The transit agency has no clue on who’s behind the security breach. Whatever it is, this is terrifying, and a real life demonstration of what it’s like when hackers invade urban infrastructure.