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New Haven schools lose $6 million in cyberattack, largest in city history

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker
Molly Ingram
New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker

The city of New Haven lost more than $6 million in multiple cyberattacks on its public school district earlier this summer.

Mayor Justin Elicker said it’s the largest cyber fraud in the city's history.

We do a lot around cybersecurity. And in response to this incident we will be engaging some outside parties to strengthen even more our cybersecurity to ensure that we minimize the possibility of this type of cyberattack ever happening again,” Elicker said.

Hackers gained access to the New Haven Public School's chief operating officers e-mail account and inserted themselves into conversations with the city’s finance office. That resulted in millions of dollars in payments to fraudulent accounts.

We found out about this issue on June 23 when one of the vendors was looking for their payment and realized there was a problem,” Elicker said. “We quickly contacted the New Haven police and the FBI. The FBI has been helping us investigate."

The FBI has been able to trace and recover $3.6 million of the stolen money, and freeze some other accounts, the mayor said.

“We are working with the FBI to hold the people accountable that did this,” he said.

School district operations were not disrupted by the fraud and vendors, including a school bus service provider, were able to be paid with other funds.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.