School district cyber hack thwarted

SAN BENITO — The U.S. Secret Service, San Benito CISD administrators and the Frost Bank Fraud Prevention Services Division identified and prevented multiple fraudulent wire transfers from taking place after a school district employee reported irregularities with the bank’s website.

District officials report a school employee was redirected to a fraudulent website that appeared to be the genuine Frost Bank site while attempting to process routine automated clearing house (ACH) transactions.

Bank officials discovered the cyber security lapse and were able to successfully stop multiple wire transfers to the Republic of Turkey, including two transfers totaling $600,000.

Another fraudulent transfer of $296,000 was detected and stopped by the U.S. Secret Service, which began working with the district and bank after the hacks were reported.

All seized amounts will be returned to the district, according to district officials.

“The district and Frost Bank fell victim to this unfortunate and malicious cyber security attack. Our Technology Department will be implementing improved protocol and processes to keep our network safe,” stated San Benito CISD Superintendent Dr. Nate Carman in a press release. “We will continue to educate our employees on cyber security issues. It will be the end-users, our employees, that will ultimately protect our network, and we will give them the tools to do so.”

Billions of dollars are lost each year due to attacks that begin with malware, which is software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client or computer network, according to the U.S. Secret Service.