Governor: No ransom to be paid in AutoExpreso hack
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia said Tuesday that he will not pay the ransom requested by the people who have hacked the AutoExpreso recharge system.
“The public policy of the government is not to be paying ransoms for any disturbance or hacking of cyber accounts,” the governor said at a press conference. “That is the government’s policy. But I cannot comment on whether or not that requirement is pending, because that is under investigation.”
Highways and Transportation Authority Executive Director Edwin González confirmed that the person or persons who hijacked the AutoExpreso recharging system asked for an amount of money in exchange for returning the system. He would not specify the amount, pending the ongoing investigation.
Pierluisi insisted that highway tolls will continue to be collected, despite the fact that at the moment there is no way to recharge the accounts. The governor said that at some point the balances owed will be collected retroactively.
“Everyone who is using the expressways is obviously registering and at the time they will have to pay for their use,” the governor said. “But they will not be fined.”
But is it going to be recovered retroactively? Pierluisi was asked.
“Whatever is owed will be claimed at the time,” he replied. “So obviously, you have to keep that in mind.”
But will that be a substantial payment?
“But whoever is using the expressways has to pay for it,” the governor said. “It would not be fair for those who are paying, with those who have the amounts in their accounts and those who do not. Whoever is using it has to pay. No fines will be imposed. In the same way, they can continue to do business with CESCO and they will not be affected, license renewals and others, that is flowing.”
Since last week, the AutoExpreso recharge system has been the victim of a hack. Government officials have said user data has not been compromised during the incident.