Massachusetts town treasurer loses $50,000 in keyboard sniffing attack

News by SC Staff

A computer breach in Massachusetts has seen the town treasurer lose almost $50,000.

A computer breach in Massachusetts has seen the town treasurer lose almost $50,000.


Using keyboard sniffing, a hacker hit treasurer Craig Mayen's computer in the town of Sandwich, recorded his security code and password and was able to make withdrawals.


The money was transferred to accounts in Florida and Georgia, police have been working with the town's banks and a white-collar crime-fighting collaboration of law enforcement and bank security officials to catch the hacker. Sandwich officials have warned their counterparts in surrounding towns of the computer breach.


Florida police were able to question a man who opened one of the accounts there, as he was trying to make a withdrawal, however, they do not believe the man is criminally involved in the scheme.


Police chief Michael J. Miller told the Boston Globe that Mayen discovered the breach two weeks ago and notified police detectives. He said that detectives will ask the state attorney general's office and the FBI for help in what he called a complex case.


Dean Turner, director of global intelligence network for Symantec, claimed that the data breach was similar to the type of scheme that attacked retailers such as TJX and BJ's Wholesale Club, as in this case, a hacker was able to implant a malicious code in the treasurer's computer.


Turner said: “That could have been done in several ways: by email or through a website that was carrying the virus, from there, the hacker could have begun reading the keyboard strokes. This is what data breach really is - an ability to compromise information. In this case, it's banking information.”


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