Hacker collective Anonymous on Sunday broke into myBART.org, a website owned by San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, releasing the personal information of thousands of users. The attack was in response to BART's recent admission that it shut down cell phone service in its downtown stations last Thursday to disrupt a planned protest over the recent shooting of a 45-year-old man by BART police. A similar protest in July attracted approximately 100 people, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The decision to cut off cell service sparked outrage among many, including Anonymous hacktivists. The hacker group plans to carry out a live protest against BART on Monday at 5 p.m. local time at San Francisco's Civic Center/UN Plaza Station.
Fuzzy Numbers for myBart Dump
Anonymous' BART data dump included the real names, addresses, phone numbers, user IDs, and logins for thousands of users, but it's not clear how many people were affected. One site claiming to contain the data dump shows more than 2400 names; however, a Twitter account linked to Anonymous claims to have a BART mailing list containing the information for more than 120,000 people. BART says myBART.org has just 55,000 registered users. The information breach did not include any financial information such as credit card numbers.
BART has shut down myBART temporarily while it investigates the breach. The transit authority is encouraging users to change their names and passwords if they use myBART credentials for other online accounts. BART is also warning myBART users to be wary of possible e-mail, telephone, or mail scams asking for more sensitive personal data such as financial account information or social security numbers.
The attack against myBART came after Anonymous said it planned to bring down BART.gov, the transit system's main site, for six hours on Sunday. It's not clear if the group was successful with that action. BART on Sunday released a statement saying it would do its best to defend its network against online attacks attempting to bring down its site.
Sunday's data dump was part of a coordinated set of online attacks and protests, dubbed OpBart, the hacker collective has planned to protest BART's actions. Anonymous on Saturday said it began to flood BART's fax numbers and email addresses with messages of protest. The group plans to carry out a live protest on Monday at San Francisco's Civic Center/UN Plaza Station. Anonymous is also calling on its supporters who live outside of San Francisco to continue its fax and email campaign during the protest.
"We will not tolerate censorship. . . Anonymous demands that this activity revolving around censorship cease and desist and we know you are already planning to do this again," Anonymous said in a statement addressed to BART.
BART is working with law enforcement to investigate the weekend's online attacks, but catching those responsible may prove difficult as Anonymous' membership tends to be somewhat nebulous. The group's OpBart Twitter account, for example, is purportedly controlled by hundreds of people; a problem that is concerning even for Anonymous.
Early Sunday, someone with access to the OpBart Twitter account sent out the message, "BART and you're dead." Other members with access to OpBart spent time on Monday doing damage control for the outburst.
It's not clear how many people plan to attend Monday's OpBart protest.