Georgia school district accidentally wires $200K to fraudulent bank account in cyberattack

FLOYD COUNTY, Ga. — Floyd County Schools is has recovered nearly $200,000 in stolen funds after a cyberattack targeted the school system.

The superintendent filed a report with Floyd County police on Tuesday when the school district became aware of it.

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According to the report, the board of education wired $194,672.76 to a bank account that believed was associated with Ben Hill Roofing company. The district previously contracted with the company for work at Armuchee High School.

Officials said they received a message in April from an email address that claimed to be with the company. The email had a request to set up a direct deposit for future payment.

Floyd County Schools made the payment on April 29. The school district didn’t discover until later that it was a fake account.

The real Ben Hill Roofing reached out to ask about the payment that the school system thought it had already made.


Channel 2 Action News reached out to the school district and received the following statement:

“Floyd County Schools has been made aware of a spearphishing incident, which is a targeted email attack pretending to be from a trusted sender. This cyber-attack resulted in funds being stolen from the school system by an outside source.”

“We are working with local law enforcement, GEMA, GBI, and insurance officials to recover the funds. Because of the cyber security measures FCS has put in place over the past few years, school system officials believe this is an isolated incident. Due to the ongoing investigation, more details cannot be released at this time.”

The Floyd County Police Department announced Thursday afternoon nearly all of the money was recovered.

Police say the funds were transferred to Lakeside National Bank in Texas where it was moved between accounts.

The bank noticed the suspicious activity and put safeguards in place, according to police. $5,338.41 is still missing.

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Spear-phishing is a type of cyberattack, similar to phishing, but targeted toward a specific individual or entity, according to The Associated Press. It can be compared to phishing, a broader form of online fraud that aims to steal things like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, user IDs and passwords.