Ransomware attack disrupts Metro Vancouver’s payment systems

The payments systems remained ineffective for three days after the ransomware attack, but payment data is safe, claims TransLink.
Ransom note left by the attackers on systems used by Metro Vancouver’s payment systems.

TransLink, the agency that manages the transit system of Metro Vancouver, has become the latest victim of a ransomware attack.

According to reports, the Metro’s payment systems were targeted by Egregor ransomware operators, after which the systems stayed ineffective for three days.

See: San Francisco Railway’ Fare System Hacked for 100 Bitcoin Ransom

The attack affected TransLink employees’ payday as well. The company’s payroll operations aren’t working; therefore, the employees will be paid through a cash advance at 65% of their normal pay without payroll deductions.

A comprehensive forensic investigation is underway to identify what caused the incident to occur and what kind of data could have been impacted.

TransLink’s CEO Kevin Desmond officially confirmed the incident and revealed that the company also received a ransom letter from the attackers that read:

“Your network has been ATTACKED, your computers and servers were LOCKED, your private data was DOWNLOADED. If you do not contact us in the next three DAYS we will begin DATA publication.”

The attacker also included instructions for the admins to pay the ransom. They asked to visit the Egregor website via the Tor browser.

The ransom note left by the attackers

Desmond, on the other hand, assured customers that fare payment data is safe because TransLink never stores it and uses a reliable third-party payment processor to carry out all fare transactions.

Furthermore, he clarified that the transit authority immediately isolated and shut down the main software and systems to contain the attack’s impact and is now trying to resume normal operations.

The Compass vending machines and the tap-to-pay fare gates, which were inaccessible for three days, are not available. Customers can now start using credit and debit cards at the vending machines like before.

See: Developer of NanoCore RAT that targeted Canada, US & Steam jailed

Moreover, customers who purchased passes recently or stored value on their Compass card will have their credit loaded soon. For your information, Compass is the reloadable fare card that works everywhere on transit in Metro Vancouver.

“We are sharing as much as we can at this point considering this is an active investigation. We will provide further updates as more information becomes available,” Desmond told Vancouver Sun.

The transit services will operate regularly without any interruption, and transit safety systems weren’t affected.

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