Hackers tried to steal $2 million from Thomas County Schools' payroll

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
March 7, 2019

THOMAS COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- The Thomas County School System says a plot to hack into the district's payroll account has been foiled.

District officials say security protocols put in place by the district and its banking partner, TNB, prevented hackers from stealing nearly $2 million from a school system account.

We're told the hackers obtained unauthorized computer files which contained accounting and payroll information and then tried to make fraudulent wire transfers to a series of out-of-state accounts.

District officials say even though the hackers were unable to get any money, they did gain access to payroll records. Those records include the names, employee identification numbers, bank account numbers, and bank routing numbers for school district employees.

At this time, investigators do not believe that the hackers gained access to Social Security numbers or passwords to individual employee accounts.

After discovering the plot, the school district hired an IT security firm to investigate the attack and deploy software to prevent further attacks.

Although officials believe the primary motive of the hackers was to steal money from the district account, TCS employees have been advised to carefully monitor their accounts and to immediately report any suspicious activity or unexpected withdrawals to their banks.

Employees are also being advised to change their passwords on district computers and to watch out for suspicious emails.

In the notice to employees, Thomas County Superintendent Dr. Lisa Williams stated, "The Thomas County School District values its employees and respects the privacy of their personal information. Protecting the security of our employees’ personal information is a top priority for the district. We value and respect the privacy of your information, and we sincerely apologize for any concern or inconvenience this may cause you."