22 Sep 2011

California city has money stolen by computer virus

Heightened business security software and antivirus programs may be needed in Oakdale, California, as news sources report that a virus was used to steal $118,000 from a city bank account.

Officials learned of the theft earlier this month, but federal authorities asked them not to go public until now to not endanger the investigation. Interim City Manager Greg Wellman said the city's insurance carrier will reimburse the city for its loss after its $2,500 deductible. The money was in an account at Oak Valley Community Bank, and Wellman said bank officials said it was due to a virus that originated in a city computer.

"They are confident that their systems are tight and everything is well protected," Wellman said about the bank. A local police detective said federal authorities told them there was no indication that any local city employees were involved in the theft. The city has taken the computer with the virus offline.

News sources say the city will hire a consultant for a more in depth study of the city's computers. Oakdale is reminding employees about safe computer use, which should include installing a strong antivirus program.