San Francisco Muni says server data not accessed in ransomware hit

The alleged ransomware attacker has reportedly threatened to release data stolen from the transit system

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said late Monday that no data had been accessed from its servers in a ransomware attack on the Muni transit system and the agency has never considered paying the ransom asked by the attacker.

The statement by the SFMTA follows reports that the alleged attacker has threatened to dump 30GB of data stolen from the agency, if the ransom of the equivalent of about $73,000 in bitcoin was not paid.

“The SFMTA network was not breached from the outside, nor did hackers gain entry through our firewalls,” the agency’s spokeswoman Kristen Holland wrote in a blog post. She did not mention how the ransomware had got to the SFMTA systems, though there is the possibility that it may have been activated through a link in an email or a web link by an unsuspecting insider.

The malware had been used to encrypt some systems, mainly affecting some 900 office computers, as well as access to various systems, Holland added.

The attack on the transit system last week served to highlight the risk to critical, public infrastructure from cyberattacks, leading some people to voice concern about the safety of the operations of the transit system.

The post tries to address such concerns by stating that Muni operations and safety were not affected and customer payment systems were not hacked.  The payroll system was in operation but access to it was temporarily affected, according to the SFMTA post.

The transit system was hit by ransomware since Friday, reportedly leading to the message “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted” being displayed on the computer screens at stations.

SFMTA in coordination with partner Cubic Transportation Systems decided to turn off ticket machines and faregates in the Muni Metro subway stations from Friday to Sunday morning only as a precaution. In the event, passengers benefited from a free ride during those days.

The agency has approached the Department of Homeland Security for help to identify and contain the virus, and is working closely with DHS and the FBI on the attack.

“The SFMTA has never considered paying the ransom,” to the attacker, according to the post. The agency’s information technology team is restoring the systems, with all computers expected to be functional in the next day or two. Most affected computers are already back in operation, SFMTA said.

The ransomware is believed to be a variant of HDDCryptor, which uses commercial tools to encrypt hard drives and network shares, and was identified in September by Trend Micro as a threat both to consumers and enterprises as it not only "targets resources in network shares such as drives, folders, files, printers, and serial ports via Server Message Block (SMB), but also locks the drive."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?