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San Francisco public transit system hit in ransomware attack

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said on Monday it had contained a cyber attack, which disrupted its ticketing systems and forced it to offer free service to some customers during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The agency, known widely as Muni, said it was the victim of a ransomware attack on Friday that affected internal computer systems including email, but had no impact on safe operation of transit services.

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The agency disabled fare gates from Friday to Sunday “as a precaution to minimize possible impacts to our customers,” Muni spokesman Paul Rose said in an email on Monday.

Muni said on its website that “the situation is now contained and we have prioritized restoring our systems to be fully operational.

It was the latest high-profile intrusion with ransomware, a pernicious type of computer virus that scrambles data on infected machines, sometimes making it impossible for organizations to deliver critical services.

Attacks have increased sharply over the past year, with criminals targeting hospitals, police departments and other providers of critical services in the United States and Europe. Criminals typically charge a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars or more to provide digital keys that restore systems to normal.

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman Prentice Danner said the agency was “in contact with Muni officials,” though he declined to say if the FBI had launched a formal investigation.

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The San Francisco Examiner reported that someone claiming to be the attacker informed the newspaper of a $73,000 ransom demand.

Reuters was unable to confirm details of the extortion demand or determine if payment had been made.

The attack disrupted ticket-selling systems, causing kiosk screens to display the phrase “You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted,” according to the Examiner.

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(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Bill Trott and David Gregorio)


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Roger Stone’s dream of booting judge for sentencing comments brutally crushed by ex-US Attorney: ‘He’s met his match’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance crushed any hopes former Donald Trump associate Roger Stone might have that his prison sentence will be voided due to comments made by the presiding judge in his federal trial.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Vance left no doubt Stone's latest legal gambit will collapse just like his previous attempts to squirm out of his trial did.

"Stone's legal team says that Judge Amy Berman Jackson's assertion that the jurors served with integrity shows bias," host Witt stated. "Do you buy that argument and legally would that be enough to get the judge dismissed from the case?"

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You’re a frog in a pot and Donald Trump is turning up the heat

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

"Trump has instructed his White House to identify and force out officials across his administration who are not seen as sufficiently loyal," reported The Washington Post this week. It's one element in "a post-impeachment escalation that administration officials say reflects a new phase of a campaign of retribution and restructuring ahead of the November election." It's unclear what criteria they are using to define loyalty to this president*, but it's important to understand a few things about this story.

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Justice Dept officials worry Bill Barr will fall quietly in line behind Trump after Stone interference: report

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According to a report from CNN, longtime Justice Department officials are concerned that Attorney General Bill Barr will do all he can to stay out of Donald Trump's sight and not interfere now that he was caught up in a squabble with the president over the sentencing of Trump associate Roger Stone.

CNN notes that Barr had previously watched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo be swept up in the president's Ukraine scandal -- damaging the State Department official's reputation -- and hoped to keep a low profile in the president's public disputes.

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