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Cyberthieves steal $6 million from New Haven (Connecticut) schools

Aug. 11, 2023
The city has recovered more than half of the funds, which were meant to pay for the district's school bus service.

Hackers impersonating the New Haven (Connecticut) school district’s chief operating officer stole more than $6 million in city funds that were largely meant to pay for school buses

The New Haven Independent reports that the city has recovered more than half of that public money — as it investigates what went wrong.

Here’s what happened, according to New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker:

In late-May through mid-June, six cyberattacks netted hackers just over $6 million in city money.

The hackers appear to have gained access to the email account of New Haven Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Thomas Lamb.

Lamb had the authority to authorize electronic transfers that have already been approved in the annual budget, the mayor said. 

Two of the stolen payments adding up to $76,000 were meant to Shipman & Goodwin, a law firm that represens the school system. Four of the stolen payments, adding up to over $5.9 million, were meant for First Student, a school bus contractor that provides transportation for the district.

The city’s finance department processed the electronic transfer requests it had received. On June 23, the city’s budget office learned that a theft had taken place when First Student asked why it hadn’t been paid.

The city’s budget office ​identified the problem, stopped making electronic transfers, and contacted local police and the FBI. An attempted cyberattack in early July was thwarted when a transfer was rejected by the city’s budget office. 

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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