Posted by Tom Burt, on

St. Johns County, Florida, worked to recover over $1 million lost to hackers through a business email scam. Law enforcement was involved, with over $600,000 recovered. It started when the county thought they were talking to and paying DBE Utilities Construction, saying they changed their payment processing. But it was coming from a DOT “CO” email and not DOT “COM.” The county sent a payment of over $500,000. Documents show St. Johns County again paid the hackers for a separate payment of over $600,000. But the actual company emailed them saying they hadn’t received any payments.

Tyler Chancey, Director of Cybersecurity at Scarlett Group, provided valuable insights into the incident. “They learn the habits, they learn the account, they learn the job,” Chancey said. “Once they have all the information and knowledge they strike at the right time. They launch the attack right when a bill is being changed or someone isn’t paying attention and they do it in a way that looks legitimate.”

The scheme, initiated by deceptive emails posing as legitimate companies, highlights evolving cyber threats. Officials intensified efforts to protect taxpayer funds and explored third-party solutions to bolster security. 

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