New York City Subway System Possibly Hit by 'Doomsday Virus'
An E train at the 42nd St-Port Authority station of the New York City subway system, Dec. 22, 2008.
CREDIT: Adam E. Moreira/Creative Commons
The "doomsday virus" may have claimed its first big victim.
Ticket-vending machines run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority were mysteriously knocked out across the New York subway system Monday morning, hours after the FBI pulled the plug on servers that had been keeping computers infected by the DNSChanger malware online.
"Metro Card vending machines on the [Upper West Side] all out of commission. Great way to start the week @mta.info," tweeted subway rider Ed Windels.
"No Metrocard machines taking card payments. No info. Belligerent booth lady at Ditmars. $104 monthly is on my prepaid commuter card," wrote fellow rider Jim Cronin.
"#MTA was only taking cash. Who carries $104 in cash? Bill Gates and a stripper on Sunday morning," joked Jessica Solt.
"All the ?#mta machines seem to be down. ?#DNS attack victim?" speculated Nicholas Beck.
"Since approximately 9 a.m., we were not been able to process credit/debit transactions system-wide at our MetroCard Vending Machines (MVMs)," an MTA spokeswoman told SecurityNewsDaily via email. "According to our tech people, the problem has been rectified and MVMs are coming back on line. IBM is investigating the cause of the problem."
The @nyctsubwayscoop Twitter feed did not report any ticket-vending problems.
Requests for comment from Cubic Transportation Systems, which manufactures the MetroCard vending machines, and from IBM, which operates the data-processing center used by the vending machines, were not immediately returned.
Unverified reports also came in about malfunctioning vending machines on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) commuter trains from New Jersey. While part of a different system, PATH trains accept the same MetroCard magnetic-stripe ticket card used by the New York City transit system.
New Jersey Transit put up an alert about delays due to Amtrak computer problems, but it is not known if those were related to the DNSChanger bug.