Colorado county mistakenly sends $238K to hackers after cyberattack

County leaders in Colorado said they mistakenly sent $238,000 to hackers after one of its vendors experienced a cyberattack. 

Boulder County said on its website that after its vendor was hacked, a spearfishing e-mail was sent to the county. 

Thinking it was the vendor itself, the county sent the check. However, it turned out the money was sent to a fraudulent account. 

"Although the county has safeguards in place to prevent these types of frauds from occurring, and we successfully thwart attacks by fraudsters several times a year, we did not catch this one in time to prevent the check from being cashed," County Administrator Jana Petersen said on the county’s website. "Fraudsters continue to get more and more creative in their approaches, and we continue to enhance our safeguards to make sure to minimize the risk to taxpayer dollars."

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County officials said insurance should cover the financial losses after an investigation tasks place. 

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is currently working the federal law enforcement on the investigation.

"We take great pride in our work and in the controls we have in place to detect and prevent fraud," Petersen added. "It’s so frustrating that this happened, and we will learn from the experience and continuously work to review and enhance our controls."

This story was reported from Los Angeles.