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City officials confirm cyberattack caused ‘mass disabling’ of TheBus, Handi-Van servers

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UPDATE 5 p.m.

The cyberattack on Oahu’s bus system “has the trappings” of being a ransomware attack, according to Roger Morton, director of the Department of Transportation Services, although it is still being investigated.

“We do not have any specific demand for money … but it has the trappings of a ransom demand. That’s certainly a possibility,” Morton said during a press conference today.

Law enforcement entities like the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Secret Service and the Honolulu Police Department are currently investigating the attack.

Morton said that, to his knowledge, no personal information from TheBus or TheHandi-Van riders using the HOLO card has been compromised.

“The HOLO card information that we do have is contained in a city server, not an OTS (Oahu Transit Services) server, and there’s no evidence that there has been any intrusion into the city system,” he said.

Officials have not been able to access reservations for TheHandi-Van, but Morton said everyone who wanted to make reservations today by phone have been accommodated.

Morton could not provide a timeline for when the affected systems will be restored.

For now, DTS is urging TheHandi-Van riders to call 808-456-5555 to make reservations.

Due to an anticipated high call volume, the department is asking those who want to make a reservation for a ride on Friday before 9 a.m. should call the reservation center by 10 p.m. tonight. DTS is asking those who want to schedule a ride after 9 a.m. on Friday to wait until 5 a.m. to schedule their ride.

4:50 p.m.

The city Department of Transportation Services confirmed this afternoon that Oahu Transit Services suffered a cyberattack this morning, which caused a “mass disabling of online servers” for TheBus and TheHandi-Van systems.

City officials said they are working with the FBI, the Secret Service, and Honolulu police as those agencies investigate.

TheBus is still in operation with little to no delay in service, they said. But for TheHandi-Van riders who require rides on Friday, OTS recommends:

>> To schedule rides before 9 a.m., call TheHandi-Van reservations tonight between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

>> For all rides after 9 a.m., call Friday starting at 5 a.m.

TheHandi-Van reservations line is 808-456-5555.


The Honolulu Department of Transportation Services is investigating a massive shutdown of online servers at Oahu Transit Services, operator of the city’s TheBus and TheHandi-Van, due to a possible cyberattack.

The shutdown has affected all OTS networks, the city said today.

While TheBus will continue to operate on schedule, with little to no delays in service expected, TheHandi-Van officials are unable to access, view, or print today’s customer reservations, according to the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services.

Customers of TheHandi-Van who are scheduled for pickup today are urged to call 808-456-5555 to schedule same-day pickups, but should be aware there may be a high volume of calls.

Meanwhile, the city will be staging vehicles throughout Oahu so they may be dispatched to waiting customers.

Also affected was TheBus Pass Office at the Kalihi Transit Center.

Customers will not be able to purchase HOLO cards or passes today and city DOT officials subsequently announced the temporary shutdown of the HOLO card and HOLO operations.

Online services and call centers for the HOLO card are temporarily down and some retail locations distributing HOLO cards will be unable to access HOLO card accounts, distribute or load/re-load cards, according to the DTS.

However, TheBus operators have been informed to let riders on board if they have a HOLO card present. Riders should still tap their HOLO cards at the card reader. Cash payment is still accepted.

A spokesman said the city had taken steps to safeguard HOLO Card users’ personal and financial information and that it did not appear to have been compromised.

“HOLO card information and operations are housed within City servers, which to our knowledge, are not affected at this time. The City has taken steps to minimize any possible breach of personal and financial information from the HOLO card servers. Additionally, OTS has disabled all connections to outside networks, including basic internet connectivity. Our investigation, involving law enforcement, is ongoing; we will provide more information as it becomes available,” Travis Ota, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation Services, said in an email late this morning.

According to the HOLO card website,users may provide their name and email address to register the card and may also provide bank or credit card information, depending on how they purchase and reload their HOLO card, which serves as a debit card to ride public transportation.

Officials said they did not have a time frame for when the OTS networks will be up and running again, but will provide updates when available.

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