Utah city loses over $1M to cyber-hack. Computer-security expert shares tips on how not to be a victim

Sep 13, 2022, 6:00 PM
cyber security ring hackers...
FILE: The new law is focused on improving the federal government role in cybercrime. Stock photo.

SALT LAKE CITY — The city of Eagle Mountain said Monday it became the victim of a $1.13 million cyber-hack by an online impersonator posing as a vendor working with the city on an ongoing infrastructure project.

Eagle Mountain falls victim to $1.13 million cyber-hack

Earl Foote of Nexus IT joins KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic. He discusses what other cities can learn from this theft and what steps to take to prevent this from happening.

Foote said in these types of cyber-thefts, a hacker gains access to one side of an email account. Hackers spot announcements around projects from a city like Eagle Mountain and the vendors or the contractors involved. When criminals see the moment of a financial transaction, they impersonate someone on one end of the email exchange and change the ACH (Automated Clearing House) or wiring instructions for the payment.

The ACH network acts as the central clearing facility for all Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) transactions in the United States, representing a crucial link in the national banking system, according to Tech Target.

How not be a victim 

Foote said in these types of financial transactions, do not rely on email or text. Also, he said, do not conduct the financial transaction on a Friday.

“Whether it’s your personal financial side or business of an organization, if there any changes made to wire transfer instructions or ACH instructions, call your conduct on the other side.

“Do not rely on text communication or email, call somebody and verify the details before you make a wire.

“Banks oftentimes will have 24 to 48 hours to reverse those transactions to get your money back, but hackers will usually strike late on a Friday, so the banks cannot recover the money,” Foote said.

Debbie noted that these crimes are not confined to just cities. Individuals or families buying a home and sending a large sum of money through a wire transfer to a title company can also fall victim to cyber-hackers and thieves.

“The scenario you have just outlined is extremely common today. In the last four or five years, we have been brought into several of those scenarios, specifically, around real estate down payments,” Foote said.

Watch for the signs of fraud, he advised. Check the email recipient’s address. Watch for language, verbiage and grammar in the email — especially right before a transaction — to make sure it matches the language and tone in the trusted person’s previous communications. 

“I still would never trust the information in a text format. When you’re dealing with a financial transaction, get on the phone, verify the information before you make a move,” Foote recommended.

Will insurance cover cyber-hack thefts?

“We hear this all the time when someone gets hit: ‘Oh, it’s all fine because we had insurance.’ Listen, you’re paying for it. Everybody’s paying for it. You’re either paying for it in increased premiums. . .. whatever it might be, trust me, that is not free money.”

Foote said cyber-crimes haven been increasing quickly — and are costly. But if the theft is avoidable, insurance companies may balk on paying the claims.

“When there’s negligent behavior, when a situation was preventable by taking a few basic measures, we’re seeing insurance carriers walk away from those, saying you don’t have a valid claim here,” Foote said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

Utah Democrats Gene Davis...
Simone Seikaly

Attorney for Sen. Gene Davis says Davis won’t resign from the Utah Senate

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party asked for Davis to resign immediately because of allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
1 day ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
2 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
6 days ago
centerville arson fire...
Curt Gresseth

What’s behind random acts of violence in Utah?

What's behind a recent spate of random violence in Uta?. A sleeping couple at home in West Valley City is stabbed by an intruder. A stranger enters a home with three elderly people in Centerville and burns it down. Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst breaks down what he thinks is motivating young people to commit random acts of violence.
7 days ago
Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River. (AP...
Curt Gresseth

Yuma mayor talks about migrants illegally crossing into city: US has the laws to fix problem

An Arizona mayor talks with Dave & Dujanovic about migrants coming into the country illegally. He says the U.S. has the laws to fix the problems.
8 days ago
BYU study COVID money...
Elizabeth Weiler

Utah’s young adults being launched into the world of financial responsibility

Because young adults are rarely in personal high-income situations, they are categorized as low-income, making them at higher risk for credit card debt. 
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah city loses over $1M to cyber-hack. Computer-security expert shares tips on how not to be a victim