San Francisco MUNI Light Rail Hit By Real Life Watch Dogs As Hackers Disable Fare System

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Is this a case of life imitating art? Riders of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, more commonly known as Muni, were treated to a rather interesting surprise over the weekend. Starting Friday afternoon, it was determined that the MUNI ticketing system was attacked by hackers, with computer screens displaying the message, "You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted.” This sounds like the plot for a mission from Watch Dogs 2, a game that launched November 15th to highly favorable reviews and follows the travails of a band of hackers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While the hack was enough to bring down the payment system associated with Muni, it was not enough to actually disrupt service. “There’s no impact to the transit service, but we have opened the fare gates as a precaution to minimize customer impact,” said Paul Rose, a spokesman for Muni. “Because this is an ongoing investigation it would not be appropriate to provide additional details at this point.”

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[Image Credit: Blorq via reddit]

If there’s one positive that came out of this attack, it’s that riders were able to take the light rail system on Friday and Saturday for free, as Muni posted “Out of Service” and “Free Muni” signs over terminal displays. All of Muni’s rail systems were operational again by Sunday morning, so the free ride(s) didn’t last very long. However, Muni’s email system was also compromised by hackers and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) workers might not get paid this week due to the systems breach.

For those that would like to test out your “hacking” skills without actually causing widespread mayhem in real life, you can get Watch Dogs 2 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.