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Frisco Muni Faces $70,000 Ransom Demand

Frisco Muni Faces $70,000 Ransom Demand
San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency computers are hit by ransomware, resulting in free rides for travelers.

(CCM) — San Francisco's Municipal Transport Agency — known as Muni — has suffered a devastating ransomware attack, which has resulted in customers being able to travel on trains, trams, and buses around the city without paying. The attack disabled computers all over the city's transport network, including at stations, by encrypting the data stored on their hard drives. Ticketing machines were shut down by staff as a precautionary measure, according to a BBC report. The screens of the hacked computers displayed a message, apparently from those responsible for the attack, which said: "You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key(cryptom27@yandex.com)ID:681 ,Enter." The hackers have demanded a ransom of 100 Bitcoins ($70,000) for the key that will decrypt the data and allow the affected computers to operate normally again. The transit service itself and its related safety systems have not been affected by the attack, according to the BBC.

Ransomware attacks have become increasingly common over the last two years, according to data from Kaspersky Lab. The company believes that about 130,000 people fell victim to such attacks in 2015, compared to over 700,000 in the first half of 2016 alone. Without paying the hackers for the decryption key, it is usually only possible for users to retrieve their data from a backup, if one exists. However a collaboration between the Dutch National Police, Europol, Intel Security, and Kaspersky Lab, called the No More Ransom Project, has created a set of four software tools that contain more than 160,000 known decryption keys used by almost 20 different ransomware variants, which can, in some cases, enable ransomware victims to decrypt their data.

Image: © klenger - Shutterstock.com
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