Computer Network At Sand Springs Schools Hacked

Friday, August 14th 2009, 9:45 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

SAND SPRINGS, OK -- Hackers may have jeopardized the bank accounts of Sand Springs Public Schools' employees.  One of the computers used in the Sand Springs Board of Education building was hacked into using the username and password of the school district's payroll supervisor.   Although the superintendent says no money has been taken, he says the hackers could easily have drained his employees' bank accounts.

"We think it's some high tech, high powered criminals out there that was able to somehow get by all of our safeguards," said Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.

Just days before Sand Springs students head back to school, hackers infiltrated the school district's computer system jeopardizing the bank accounts of 500 school district employees.

"Some hacker was able to get in there and in the process basically exposed all of our people's accounts and also where they bank," said Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.

Superintendent Lloyd Snow says the president of the local branch of American Heritage Bank called him to say nearly $160,000 had been compromised.  But, according to the police report filed by Snow, the bank believes it may have been able to stop the payments from going through.

"To my knowledge nobody is missing money and we certainly haven't missed any money," said Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.  "Unfortunately if you have enough smart folks in the world, with enough interest in technology, they somehow can get beyond all the barriers and create havoc."

Through further investigation and contact with the Federal Reserve, the originating IP Address has been traced to New Jersey.

"This is not the first time. You name any kind of industry anywhere and they'll tell you an electronic misery story that they have," said Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.   

Fake names had even been added to the payroll for direct deposits.  Names of people who have never and are not employed with the school district.

"You've seen those movies where have one hacker doing this and the other hacker doing this and are trying to save the world.  Well, I think it was some of that. Pretty high drama," said Sand Springs Superintendent Lloyd Snow.

Sand Springs Public Schools' employees were given a letter explaining the situation, stating there has been no evidence of fraudulent activity on any school employees' accounts.

However, Superintendent Lloyd Snow is urging employees to keep a close eye on their accounts and immediately report anything suspicious.