Feeds

Water utility auditor resigns, transfers $9m offshore

In that order

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

California and federal officials are searching for a former employee of a large water utility who is suspected of trying to transfer more than $9m to an offshore account after quitting the company.

Abdirahman Ismail Abdi made the brazen transfers on April 27, just hours after resigning from the California Water Services Company, according to documents filed in federal court in Northern California. The following morning, he allegedly put his wife and two small children on a plane bound for Frankfurt, Germany, and then tried to deposit a $25,000 check that was stolen from his former employer.

The account is the latest reminder of the security threat posed by insiders. Over the past year, organizations from the London branch of Sumitomo Mitsui Bank to Countrywide Home Financial have fallen victim to large attempted heists that were in part carried out by employees. Many more businesses have been hobbled by sabotage allegedly carried out by disgruntled employees.

In Abdi's case, it would appear his former employer failed to take basic precautions in preventing the transfers.

On the evening of April 27, for instance, Abdi was able to use his electronic key card to access a secured parking lot just hours after resigning as an auditor at the utility, according to court documents. Abdi, who is now 33, then accessed two password-protected computers located in separate buildings to wire more than $9m out of his former employer's Bank of America account into accounts in Qatar.

The California Water Services Company, which bills itself as the largest investor-owned American water utility west of the Mississippi River and the third largest in the country, has yet to explain how a former employer could gain access to some of its most sensitive buildings. It also is unclear how Abdi had knowledge of two separate passwords.

It would appear that Abdi's plan may not have succeeded. Two of the three of the wire transfers were blocked and funds from the third are believed to have been frozen, according to court documents. Police believe Abdi fled California for New Westminster British Columbia. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.