DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Eagle Mountain accidentally pays cyber-hacker over $1 million

Sep 12, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:19 am
"Photo: GraphicStock...
"Photo: GraphicStock

SALT LAKE CITY — The city of Eagle Mountain was taken for $1.13 million by cyber-hacker(s), who inserted themselves into an ongoing email thread by posing as a vendor for the city regarding an infrastructure project the city government was planning.

Tyler Maffitt, Eagle Mountain city communication manager, joins KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Debbie to explain how the city was victimized by a cyber-attack and how the thieves infiltrated Eagle Mountain’s wallet.

‘Relatively common [crime] for city governments’

“This was a one-time payment,” Maffitt said. “I think it’s important to remember that this is relatively common for city governments.”

“So, Tyler, is there any checks and balances in place at City Hall when somebody clicks to send a $1 million payment to make sure they’re not sending it to a fake email account or an email account that’s been set up to fool you?” Debbie asked.

“We just want to reassure the public that we definitely have strong financial policies in place. I think it’s important to remember that this was a crime,” Maffitt said. “This is something that happens to many organizations all over the world pretty regularly. We’re definitely not trying to downplay that …

“Right now, Eagle Mountain city is working with both its insurance provider and several organizations outside to take a look at just what went wrong,” he continued. “How we can strengthen our policies specifically around ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments, and to really return the public’s trust to what Eagle Mountain is known for, which is high quality, transparency and financial reporting for which we win awards just about every single year.”

Maffitt said the ACH transfer payment was sent on Aug. 15 and posted the next day. On Aug. 31, the city discovered it was the victim of a cyber-crime.

“Within minutes, we were on the phone with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] to help us work through that and help us potentially recover those funds,” he said.

Eagle Mountain project not expected to stall due to cyber-hacker

Dave asked if the theft of over $1 million will slow down the city’s infrastructure project.

Maffitt said the city has a cyber-crime insurance policy and doesn’t expect the project to be delayed. He added as soon as the city receives reimbursement, the vendor will be paid.

Residents’ personal info not compromised, says manager

“How can you assure the public that the cyber-criminal did not take off with a lot of personal information from your residents there?” Debbie asked.

“Eagle Mountain city works with a tech provider and a vendor on a pretty regular basis. We asked them to look into our system, do an analysis. And check to make sure that none of this information was compromised,” Maffitt said. “.  . . We have no evidence to assess at this time that that was the case. If there is anything that does make us or lead us to believe that information was compromised, we would of course alert the public.”

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Eagle Mountain accidentally pays cyber-hacker over $1 million