08 Jul 2011

California city accounts hacked

A hacker used a phishing ploy to compromise the computer system of the city of Atascadero, California, and draw $83,000 from city accounts, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.

According to the Tribune, an Atascadero worker compromised the city's computer security by opening an email supposedly from the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) but actually sent by a hacker. On July 1, three transfers totalling $30,000 were sent from the city's account to an account at Tinker Federal Credit Union in Oklahoma. Credit union employees noticed the transfers and alerted officials in Atascadero. The money will be returned to the city. Seven other transfers were attempted but none were successful.

A message on NACHA's website says it has received multiple reports of phishing attacks using its corporate identity. The company said it does not send correspondence about transactions, and reminds customers to use antivirus software that automatically updates.

This week, phishing attacks compromised two United States Department of Energy labs and the Internal Revenue Service issued a warning about phishing emails appearing to come from that agency.