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Hackers move Out $500,000 From ‘Banco Popular Bank’

Some hackers exploited flaws in the security mechanism of a Puerto Rican bank to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from two government accounts of U.S. Virgin Islands. The theft of more than 500,000 dollar from the V.I. government accounts was achieved by stealing account codes. This incident should set alarm among all local government agencies as well as the private sector.

As per reports of finance officials, the huge amount was illegally transferred from the two government accounts in June this year. The transfer of funds was completed in several stages. Just one of transactions accounted to a total of more than $100,000. Banco Popular - the bank, which holds the accounts, came to know about the transfer as late as in the month of August.

The V.I. government's current annual budget is more than $800 million in whose respect $500,000 may appear a small amount. But it is still not clear exactly how much money the miscreants siphoned off and when. The method they applied to take out the money is amazing and whatever may be the loss , it is significant.

Turnbull has said that the San Juan-based bank has deposited the lost money in the Virgin Islands accounts by an initial amount of $300,000 with plans for further replacement of the rest of the stolen money. Why the Virgin Islands government did not declare the theft earlier is not clear yet.

The two accounts were for separate purposes. One contained funds set for the 'Human Services' Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children'. The other was for general use. Turnbell said while the federal officials suspected the fraud, they did not explain.

The FBI was unable to either confirm or deny an investigation. The local police were also kept in the dark.

The incidents imply how vital it is to observe online accounts daily, if not frequently. It also needs the government to pay closer attention on staff that assumes greater responsibility and to pay competitive salaries vis-à-vis the private sector only to draw and retain people with talent and experience. This is necessary to protect financial institutions from such high-tech problems that are hard to detect.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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