Harrisburg manufacturer loses $40K in hack of 'uncommon' size

The money was transferred to two different banks in Utah and Ohio.

Posted: Sep 11, 2019 6:14 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 6:30 PM

HARRISBURG, Ore. -- A hacker has stolen $40,000 from a manufacturer in Harrisburg, and authorities say their investigation faces unique challenges.

Isovolta, which manufactures laminate for airlines, reported the hack on Monday, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office.

They said someone hacked into the payroll system and created a fake employee account. The money was transferred to two different banks in Utah and Ohio. Authorities said that the fake employee was listed as living in Mexico.

Lt. Michelle Duncan said they are investigating, but with money crossing state and potentially international lines, local agencies may not have the authority to find the hacker.

"It's uncommon to have (hacks) of this size," said Duncan. "We'll work it as much as we can. It's just, unfortunately, oftentimes these lead to not getting a lot of information because of the nature of them and where they are coming from."

According to Isovolta management, it's unclear how the hack may impact their bottom line. They said only a single employee and external payroll vendor ADP had access to the money. They suspect it was the vendor who was hacked.

KEZI 9 News reached out to ADP, which issued the following statement: "ADP is aware of a situation involving possible unauthorized access to a client’s account. We are working closely with the proper authorities to determine the details of this matter."

Cybersecurity experts say there are multiple avenues through which hackers could engage in frauds like this one.

Oregon State University assistant professor and Oregon Cybersecurity Advisory Council member Rakesh Bobba said that hackers oftentimes obscure the locations they access the internet from, which makes tracking them difficult. In cases like this, he said malicious emails and websites are common methods of getting into the system.

"It is believed that a majority of the attacks are coming from the phishing vector. Compromising credentials often inside or through a phishing attack and then taking it from there," Bobba said.

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