Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Continue Shopping
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Germany version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > Issue 23 > Holding cities to ransom

Holding cities to ransom

Cyber security has dominated the headlines in the US. From CIA claims that Russia meddled in the US presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour to the release of thousands of FBI agents’ names, Jonathan Andrews explains how cyber criminals are now increasingly turning their attention to cities
Photo: pexels/pixabay

In November last year 900 office computers at the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency suddenly flashed with the message, ‘You hacked, ALL data encrypted’. The ransomware hacker demanded 100 Bitcoins, or around US$73,000 for the screens and data to be ‘unlocked’.

Although the malware encrypted mainly office computers, the agency took the precaution of opening fare gates on its light rail network and shutting down the fare system, providing free travel for almost two days. The city lost US$50,000 in revenue as a result.

“The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency never considered paying the ransom,” explains Paul Rose, spokesperson from the agency. “The cyber attack never compromised the fare system.”

Existing back up systems allowed the agency to get most of its affected computers up and running the next morning with the remaining computers functional in the next two days. Although customer payments were not hacked and no data was accessed from any of the servers, it would, no doubt have caused some jitters among city chief information officers across the US.

It’s easy to see why smart cities would be a top target for cybercriminals, terrorists or state-sponsored bodies. Given how critical the systems used to run a city are, hackers could wreak havoc with transport networks, street lighting, traffic control systems and smart grids.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Cities Today - Issue 23
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Issue 23
Read Now!
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address

View Issues

About Cities Today

The silent enemy How hackers are holding cities to ransom -US mayors react to Trump presidency -Interview: Mayor of Seoul -Why smart cities are water wise

Other Articles in this Issue