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KTMB to investigate hacking as possible cause of online ticketing glitch

A glitch with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB)’s online ticketing system caused severe disruptions during the first day of advanced ticket sales on Monday, and measures are already being put in place to avoid a repeat situation. According to The Malaysian Reserve, Chief Executive Officer Datuk Kamarulzaman Zainal said that the main cause of the disruption was the sheer volume of users attempting to buy tickets.

“Despite having prepared a week before, where this potential scenario had been analysed, the system still could not cope (with the demands).”

This was exacerbated by around 400,000 visitors on the site, with 30,000 transactions being completed on Monday. To better handle the load in the future, the CEO said that KTMB’s internet bandwidth capacity is being doubled from 100Mbps, while they will also be making improvements to the centralised processing unit of the system.

But the Kamarulzaman isn’t ruling out the possibility of a more nefarious motive at work here. According to an NST report:

“We want to (determine) if there was any… element of hacking. Let’s give about two weeks for the investigation to complete. KTMB might also lodge a police report (if elements of sabotage are uncovered).”

Given the lack of any more information regarding this, perhaps the CEO was merely listing out all potential causes of the overload. Regardless, more conclusive news will (hopefully) arrive at the end of the investigation.

It also appears that server overload caused by online purchasers caused severe delays for over-the-counter ticket customers as well, with up to 2-hour waits reported.

Currently, KTMB is selling 1.2 million tickets for the Electric Train Service (ETS) and inter-city trains, with dates ranging from December 1 to February 29 2020. Despite the issues, 77,000 tickets were still sold on the first day of sales.