By: Kyle James | 11-21-2017 | News
Photo credit: Griffin5 | Wikipedia

Hacker Takes Over Sacramento Transit And Demands Ransom

Just like a villain from a spy movie, hackers have attacked the Sacramento transit system and refused to leave unless paid $8,000.

The unwanted visitors erased data and threatened to do more harm if SacRT doesn't pay their ransom of one bitcoin.

Sacramento Transit officials say that no data was stolen and actively working on regaining control of their system and securing it against further intrusions. The hackers managed to erase parts of computer programs on the SacRT's servers that have to do with internal operations. They also erased functions for dispatching employees and assigning bus routes according to chief operating officer Mark Longergan.

In response to the attack, SacRT took down their homepage and shut down the systems for processing credit card payments on Connect Cards until officials at the agency deem it is safe to restore them. The mobile fare app, however, is on separate cloud-based systems and remains fully operational so transit users can still ride and pay with the app.

As of Monday morning, SacRT had not yet notified the authorities of the hackers but said they plan to. The way the hackers announced their presence was by defacing the transit homepage and leaving a note saying, "I’m sorry to modify the home page, i’m good hacker, i just want to help you fix these vulnerability. This is one of the loopholes, modify the home page …"

Seems like a nice guy right? He's just trying to help the company fix its flaws. Well, the note turned out to be a trap. When technicians went into the SacRT system to inspect the damage it unleashed the attack that erased the virtual servers. That wasn't the only note they left, the hacker sent a message through Facebook that said, "hello, I will always attack your website, we are hackers. we can do everything. Pay us now to stop attacking."

The hacker asked for only one thing, a bitcoin. Just recently the cryptocurrency reached an all-time high of $8,000. SacRT says they did not respond to the demands. Lonergan also said, "We caught it early (Sunday) morning. We took all our systems offline” in order to figure out which data the hacker erased. "We are restoring everything now and bringing it up online."

Technicians say they anticipate it will take several days because the agency's system is fully restored. In addition, SacRT will be bringing in a professional to identify vulnerabilities in an attempt to make sure they are not hacked again.

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