TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn.– Tipton County officials are checking administrative bank accounts after a cyber attack compromised at least three county credit cards.
It was a normal Monday morning, according to Tipton County Trustee Kristie Maxwell until she tried to log into her email account, and wasn’t able to.
“Once I reset that password, I could tell. I am finicky about the way I have things organized in inboxes, and I could tell things were not right,” Maxwell said.
According to an incident report, Maxwell’s government-issued email was hacked and pertinent information such as receipts and bank documents were compromised.
It says the hackers tried to establish a line of credit using personal information found in her email account.
“We just went into action, is all I can say. We went into our action plans. Everybody started doing their part. All of our chief deputies calling and contacting whoever we needed to,” Maxwell said.
The Tipton County Sheriff’s Office is now working with other organizations to figure out the extent of the damage and who is responsible. It’s the type of case the sheriff’s office says they handle every day except this time they were one of the victims.
A sheriff’s office credit card along with two other county cards had to be closed due to attempted fraudulent charges, according to the report. Thankfully, as of now, it does not appear the hackers were able to get away with any money.
“Just compromised at this point, we caught everything ahead of time, stopped payments on everything. As far as we know, from what the banks have told us, everything was caught in time,” said Detective B.J. Williams with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office stresses this incident is no one’s fault and that the email account was a county email address.
“The email address has been around since before 2006. The problem with it was because it was so old, it doesn’t have the security protocols that the newer email addresses have and of course, that’s been rectified at this point, but that was probably the issue there,” Detective Williams said.
They also want the public to know there will be no disruption to county services as a result of this attack—and they are working to make sure everything is secure moving forward.
“A learning lesson here. Fortunately, nothing too bad happened and we’ll move on and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Williams said.
The next step, they tell us, is to determine how extensive the damage is and they plan to work closely with the Secret Service to find who may be responsible.