Anonymous hacks into Bay Area Rapid Transit website
August 15, 2011
The amorphous hacker group known as Anonymous attacked a Bay Area Rapid Transit website Sunday in retaliation for BART’s decision to cut cell phone service to prevent a flash mob protest against San Francisco police. [San Francisco Chronicle]
BART scrambled to protect its websites as infuriated riders protested leaked personal information. The attack came as the hackers also called for a 5 p.m. protest today at BART’s Civic Center Station, where a police officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man on July 3.
BART, which ignited a debate about technology and free expression when it shut down cell phone service last Thursday, has not ruled out blocking it again tonight, agency spokesman Jim Allison said.
“We’re going to take steps to make sure our customers are safe,” Allison said. “The interruption of cell phone service was done Thursday to prevent what could have been a dangerous situation. It’s one of the tactics we have at our disposal. We may use it; we may not. And I’m not sure we would necessarily let anyone know in advance either way.”
The hackers took information from myBART.org, a site run by an outside vendor, then published it on another website. The leak contained 2,001 names of people — along with their passwords — who use the myBART service, which notifies riders of contests, discounts and events. In many cases, addresses and phone numbers were published as well.
“We are Anonymous, we are your citizens, we are the people, we do not tolerate oppression from any government agency,” the hackers wrote in an online posting. “BART has proved multiple times that they have no problem exploiting and abusing the people.”
Marsha-Ann Sebay, a Vallejo woman whose personal information was released, said she was furious with the hackers.
“To be honest with you, I’d like to kick their ass,” said Sebay, 61, who works in the UC Davis registrar’s office. “If you have a problem with someone, you resolve it with that person. You don’t punish other people because you don’t agree with something.
“There’s other ways to protest,” she said.