Manchester School District Faces $180K Loss Due to Vendor Hack

Estimated read time 2 min read

In a recent incident that has sent shockwaves through the Manchester Public Schools community, it has been revealed that the school district lost approximately $180,000 in three electronic payments made to a potentially fraudulent bank account. The transactions occurred between November 3 and November 17 after a vendor associated with the district fell victim to a cyber attack.

Superintendent Matthew Geary and Board of Education Chairman Chris Pattacini addressed the issue in a letter sent to parents and community members on December 5. According to the letter, the breach occurred when a vendor’s email was compromised, leading to the erroneous electronic transfers to an unauthorized bank account.

“While the investigation is ongoing, we have put additional precautions in place, including but not limited to the temporary stoppage of electronic funds transfers,” the letter stated. The district is actively working with the police and its insurance company to investigate the incident and has engaged with town staff to make necessary adjustments to its processes.

The letter acknowledged public concerns about the incident and emphasized the commitment to sharing information once the investigation is concluded. However, due to the speculative nature of the issue, the district felt compelled to provide the current facts known.

Lt. Ryan Shea of the Manchester Police Department confirmed an open investigation into the incident but refrained from providing details on its status. Superintendent Geary noted that both the police and the school’s insurance company are still actively investigating the matter.

During a Board of Directors meeting on December 5, discussions unfolded regarding school board grant allocations totaling approximately $2.9 million. While the majority voted in favor of the allocations, Minority Leader Zachary Reichelt and Director Ed Boland voted against them. Reichelt expressed a desire for a special joint meeting between the Board of Directors and Board of Education to address the fraudulent payments.

Director Dennis Schain highlighted that cybersecurity and fraud are challenges not unique to Manchester, and reassured the public that actions are being taken to address the situation. Boland echoed concerns about allocating more funds to the district without assurances of preventive measures against future incidents.

Mayor Jay Moran emphasized that the incident should not hinder the allocation of funds, stating that the ongoing police investigation will provide the necessary answers and insights. The community remains on edge as the school district works towards resolving the matter and implementing safeguards against similar occurrences in the future.

June Bauer

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