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West Clermont Schools says it lost $1.7M in 2023 cyber attack

a large school building that says "west clermont schools" with an american flag in front
Ray Pfeffer
/
WCPO
West Clermont High School in Batavia.

West Clermont Local Schools says it lost approximately $1.7 million due to a cyber attack in December 2023.

The district says it could not share details until now because the attack was under investigation over the past several months.

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According to a message from West Clermont's superintendent and treasurer, a hacker diverted several electronic payments to multiple bank accounts not associated with the district. The breach is described as a social engineering attack that targeted school employees and manipulated them into sharing sensitive information about the district's accounts.

West Clermont says it notified its financial institutions, contacted the state auditor, and submitted a claim to the district's insurance provider to recover the lost funds.

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While the school system claimed to have preventative measures in place before the attack, leaders say they've now implemented additional authentication protocols for electronic payments and are providing thorough cybersecurity training for staff.

The district says the financial hit will not lead to the elimination of any programs, student services, or a reduction in staff.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.