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Hackers raid school coffers for $3 million


Over three days last month, about $3 million was drained by computer hackers from the bank account of the Duanesburg Central School District in New York and deposited into overseas accounts, reports the Albany Times-Union. The cyber crime has prompted a joint probe into what banking and security officials say is a growing problem, underscoring the need for airtight internal controls. Duanesburg Superintendent Christine Crowley said during a news conference Jan. 5 that the discovery of the unauthorized electronic transfers from the district coffers three days before Christmas left her in “total shock” and then “sheer anger.” The jarring revelation from NBT Bank, where the rural Schenectady County district has its account, came after the hacker or hackers unsuccessfully attempted to transfer another $758,758 on Dec. 22. By then, a total of $3 million—or about 20 percent of the district’s overall budget—had already been fleeced from the 950-student, K-12 district, and the FBI and the State Police were brought in to investigate. Authorities have not made any arrests, and Crowley declined to discuss any aspects of their probe. But working with unnamed overseas financial institutions, the district’s bank has been able to recoup $2.5 million, and Crowley expressed optimism that all of the money would be recovered…

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