In an exclusive interview, Holyoke’s City Treasurer told Western Mass News she fell victim to a $10,000 cyber attack.
The attacker used a tactic called spoofing, and the scam is something that could happen to anyone.
An expert explained to Western Mass News that there is a difference between hacking and spoofing.
Back in Hune, Holyoke City Treasurer Sandra Smith received an email from who she thought was a city department head, and asked her to wire $9,997 to him.
[RELATED: Holyoke's treasurer discusses 'spoofing' incident that cost city nearly $10K]
Smith said the email looked like it came from the cell phone of a city department head, which is something that’s happened before.
“It said, 'I know you’re very busy. Could you do me a favor and wire this money? Send me the confirmation, I need to have it in today,' said Smith.
It turns out, that sort of cyber attack is called spoofing.
Stan Prager, who is the founder of Go Geeks Computer Rescue there are many types of spoofing; from actually gaining credentials to someone’s email address, and then emailing their contacts requesting money.
What happened in Holyoke is where someone has created an email address that looks similar to a real one, and then tricking a recipient.
“So looking at it, they want us to do this, sure we’ll go ahead and do it. Sure we’ll click on that link," Prager explained.
Smith said that’s exactly what happened to her.
“I wouldn’t have questioned it because we’ve done wires for that department before," she added.
With regards to future protocol, Smith has made some changes.
“I no longer accept emails from any department head in regards to any wires," she noted.
The cyber attacker was later identified on Long Island, New York and Smith said she hopes the city can get restitution.
“As the treasurer I take great pride in what I do. This issue was an isolated issue, it’s never happened to me," Smith said.
Smith said she takes full responsibility for this mistake and is willing to go before the city council to explain.
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