Hacker Wreaks Havoc on Sacramento Transit Site
Agency opts not to pay bitcoin ransom, and website is back online
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2017 2:54 PM CST
File photo of the Bitcoin logo at a trade show in New York City.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – Riders and officials of the Sacramento Regional Transit system got a surprise over the weekend when the agency's website displayed a message: “I’m sorry to modify the home page, i’m good hacker, i I just want to help you fix these vulnerability," it read in part. But as the Sacramento Bee explains, the hacker wasn't so kind-hearted after all. The message turned out to be a trap, and when technicians dug in to investigate, they inadvertently unleashed an attack that began erasing data and programs. The hackers then sent a Facebook message demanding one bitcoin in ransom to halt the attack. That demand is relatively low as these things go, notes a post at CoinTelegraph, although the cryptocurrency was trading at about $8,100 per coin on Tuesday.

The transit agency opted not to pay and instead temporarily shut down its computer systems, including the one for processing credit card payments. The extent of the damage was unclear Tuesday, but CBS Sacramento reports that 30 million files of some kind were deleted. The agency says no personal information was stolen. The website was back online as of Tuesday afternoon and fully operational, per a Facebook post by the agency, which says its defenses were being shored up to prevent a similar hack in the future. It also notified the Department of Homeland Security, notes Techwire.

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