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Ozarks Technical Community College officials say the cyberattack did not impact college operations.
SBJ file
Ozarks Technical Community College officials say the cyberattack did not impact college operations.

OTC discloses $900K cyber fraud case

Posted online

Ozarks Technical Community College disclosed it was a victim of a nearly $900,000 cyber fraud incident.

The Springfield college is conducting a review of the incident that occurred this spring and cooperating with law enforcement, though some details are being withheld due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, according to a news release.

“We can’t provide all of the specifics at this time, but it appears the criminals succeeded in impersonating one of our vendors online and directed payments from the college into a fraudulent account," OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon said in the release.

OTC spokesperson Mark Miller said the school is "working to recover the lost funds through law enforcement and through our insurance provider."

College officials indicated the loss of funds would not impact students, classes or college operations and that the school did not lose control of its data. Additionally, no personal information was lost, according to school officials.

"We will provide a more complete accounting of the incident as soon as we are able. Although the blame for this incident rests squarely on the criminals who committed this act, I want to assure you that we are doing everything in our power to ensure something like this cannot happen again," Higdon added in the release. "It is our hope that these criminals are swiftly brought to justice and that we are able to recover these funds. In the meantime, I want to express my profound thanks to everyone for the strong support we have received."

In a recent Industry Insight column for Springfield Business Journal, Ollis/Akers/Arney CEO Richard Ollis said cyber risk is now topping concerns among companies.

Ollis cited 2022 data from Allianz Risk Barometer that cyberattacks and risks associated with using smartphones and computers is the biggest global concern for companies, more so than supply chain disruptions, natural disasters and COVID-19.

"Most criminals and malicious hackers target 'high-value' industries, with education leading the pack and government/military a close second," Ollis wrote in the column.

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