Friday, September 3, 2010

WMATA Spam Problem Fixed

The Washington Metropolitan Transit Area Authority has fixed its spam problem. Commuters who subscribe to WMATA's email alerts received fradulent messages containing links to a non-WMATA website. And if you clicked on that nefarious link, well, you can imagine what bad things might happen. (You can subscribe to the alerts through WMATA's website.) Here is the spam update from WMATA:
Metro has resolved a problem with its e-Alert notification system with some subscribers who received spam emails instead of service disruption reports from Metro since Sunday, August 29.
A number of e-Alert subscribers had received multiple messages that at first appeared to be Metro e-Alerts, however, they were spam e-mails and not service disruption notifications from Metro. The bogus e-mails contained a link to an outside Web site. Recipients were sent an e-Alert that advised them not to open the links. 
Metro uses a third party vendor to manage its e-Alert subscription list and has worked with the vendor to resolve the issue. Metro and the vendor changed logon credentials to restrict future access. With these changes in place, the spamming ended.


  1. So Metro spams us and then "resolves" the problem, but never apologizes for it. They blame it all on the "third party vendor." The culture at Metro never changes: They're slow to acknowledge what they're doing wrong, they don't apologize, they shift blame, and things continue to go wrong, and they wonder why. This may be a small thing (compared to the major safety problems, at least) but it's depressingly typical.

  2. 3 years later, and it's still not solved. Well, solved for customers at least, . . . I'm sure it's working exactly like WMATA wants. If it's not spam from one of their partners (i.e., if they think you might want to take a bus to Madame Taussauds Was museum, or a train to the Franconia Mall, that gives WMATA the right to sell your personal information to anyone doing business at those locations) it's the semi-monthly survey they want you to take. They don't want your opinions (escalators, anyone), they just want to confirm that you are still checking email at that address so they can sell you more crap.