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San Francisco Metro System Blackmailed for 100 Bitcoins by Ransomware Extortionists

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On the 26th of November, the San Francisco Examiner reported the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) was hacked. Infected computers at Muni stations were reportedly downed by HDDCryptor ransomware, whose masters attempted to extort the station for bitcoin. As a result, passengers got a free ride throughout the weekend as the agency was forced to open up the gates, since they were unable to process fare payments.

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Muni ticket machines, kiosks, employee laptops, email and printed services, payroll systems and SQL databases were compromised according to The Register. Out of a total of 8.656 PCs and Macs on the agency’s network, a total of 2,112 were compromised by the attack.

Typically, a machine is infected with HDDCryptor ransomware whenever an employee accidentally opens a trapped executable, that can come in an email or a download. It took one infection for the ransomware to spread throughout the network.

SFMTA’s computers showed a black screen with the message:

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You Hacked, ALL Data Encrypted. Contact For Key(cryptom27@yandex.com)ID:681 ,Enter.

Paul Rose, n SFMTA spokesperson said: “There’s no impact to the transit service, but we have opened the fare gates as a precaution to minimize customer impact”

According to an n update by the Examiner, Muni drivers were assigned routes via handwritten notes posted on bulletin boards, as they didn’t have access to their computers. The attacker was identified as “Andy Saolis”, who said he had not yet been contacted by officials.

A 100 bitcoin ransom

The Verge, however, did contact Saolis. Reportedly, whenever the email in the message was contacted, the following message would come as a reply:

If You are Responsible in MUNI-RAILWAY ! All Your Computer’s/Server’s in MUNI-RAILWAY Domain Encrypted By AES 2048Bit! We have 2000 Decryption Key ! Send 100BTC to My Bitcoin Wallet , then We Send you Decryption key For Your All Server’s HDD!! We Only Accept Bitcoin , it’s So easy! you can use Brokers to exchange your money to BTC ASAP it’s Fast way!

The Verge got past that reply and managed to contact Saolis, who claimed the software was “working completely automatically”, and that it wasn’t a targeted attack. SFMTA’s computers were compromised because they were vulnerable. 100 bitcoins are worth roughly $73.000.

The hacker claimed if he didn’t get contacted, he would shut down the email today. This would let SFMTA’s network down for an undetermined period of time.

No reports state Saolis got paid or even contacted by SFTMA. The agency’s employees, however, may also not get paid as the system was compromised by the ransomware. Per the company’s operating budget, daily losses are of approximately $559.000.

According to reports, fare machines are now back online, but it is still unknown how the system got back up. The rest of the network is still under hacker control.

Image of San Francisco cable car from Shutterstock.

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Bitcoin Hits $100 Billion as Record Rally Continues

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Bitcoin’s epic rally intensified Friday, as the token reached $6,000 for the first time in its history, bringing the total market value above $100 billion.

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Bitcoin’s Fresh Intraday High

BTC/USD touched an intraday high of $6,064.14, bringing its total market cap to $100.8 billion. That’s roughly $85 billion higher than where the market started in January.

At press time, bitcoin was trading around $5,993, up more than 5% on the day. From a technical perspective, the digital currency is considered overbought. However, the technicals are typically less reliable during extreme price movements like we’ve seen in recent weeks. The world’s leading cryptocurrency has added a staggering 520% this year.

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Bitcoin’s rally didn’t really extend to other cryptocurrencies Friday. Ethereum continued to trade just north of $300, while Ripple (XRP) consolidated a hair below 21 U.S. cents.

The cryptocurrency market’s combined market cap is roughly $173.4 billion, which is roughly $3 billion less than the Monday’s peak.

$10,000 Bitcoin?

Bitcoin could be heading north of $10,000 a unit in the not-too-distant future, according to a survey conducted by CNBC. About 49% of the 23,118 people who voted in the CNBC poll said the digital currency will reach the five-figure threshold.

Roughly 16% of respondents said bitcoin prices are heading to between $6,000 and $8,000. About a third selected the Jamie Dimon option by calling bitcoin a fraud.

Though unscientific, the survey clearly shows that the mainstream is paying attention to the rapid acceleration of cryptocurrency. At least a portion of them will investigate the matter further, and likely conclude that digital assets are a welcome addition to their portfolio.

It’s impossible to associate bitcoin’s success with just one catalyst, but it’s clear that institutional support, the allure of the blockchain and favorable regulation in markets like Japan are feeding the rally. An anticipated November hard fork is also helping to shore up price.s

A Day of Milestones

Bullish sentiment also rubbed off on U.S. stocks Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average extending its rally above 23,000. The blue-chip index climbed tacked on 165 points to close at 23,328.63 after the U.S. Senate passed the 2018 budget by the narrowest of margins.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite also set fresh all-time highs, with financials and industrials leading the rally.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Cryptocurrency Analysis: Bitcoin Tests $6000 as Market Settles Down

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Bitcoin is in the center of attention yet again, as the most valuable coin is knocking on the door of the $100 billion level in market capitalization. The coin touched our long-term target at $6000 on several exchanges, but it’s now trading slightly below the historic level.

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While the rest of the market is quiet, BTC is very active, and it could be in for a volatile weekend, as despite the long-term overbought readings, the short-term uptrend is clearly intact. That said, investors should avoid opening new positions here, and consider lowering their exposure further, while traders should only trade with smaller than usual sizes. Support levels are found at $5400, $5000, and near the $4650 level.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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As the rest of the majors are still recovering from the recent correction, the total value of the segment is below its all-time high, with BTC’s dominance now standing at 57%. Most of the largest coins are little changed, with Monero and Liteocin showing considerable strength and IOTA still being the weakest of the majors. With all attention on BTC let’s see how the most traded altcoins look before the weekend.

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Technical Analysis: Coins Recover from Sell-Off as Bulls Remain in Control

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Following yesterday’s brief but deep correction, the major cryptocurrencies seem to be back on the bullish track, as Bitcoin is leading the segment yet again. With the most valuable coin’s dominant currently near 56%, trading in BTC dwarfs the other crypto markets. That said, most of the majors recovered well after yesterday’s rout, while Bitcoin itself reached as high as $5730 today in early trading, only a few percents off its all-time high.

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The short-term setup is encouraging for bulls, as the coin cleared the overbought short-term momentum readings while remaining inside the rising trend. A rally towards the long-term target at $6000 is still likely, despite the stretched long-term picture. Support levels are found near $5400, around the $5000 level and at $4650.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Ripple settled down somewhat in early trading but it turned volatile again later on, and the coin is still underperforming the broader market, while Ethereum bounced back well above the $300 level, remaining well below its recent highs. The rest of the market is modestly higher today, although NEO and IOTA are slightly lower still showing a negative correlation with the other majors. Let’s see the short-term charts after the short volatile period.

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