Feeds

Water utility auditor resigns, transfers $9m offshore

In that order

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Heartbleed exploit, inoculation, both released
File under 'this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me'
Canadian taxman says hundreds pierced by Heartbleed SSL skewer
900 social insurance numbers nicked, says revenue watchman
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Burnt out on patches this month? Oracle's got 104 MORE fixes for you
Mass patch for issues across its software catalog
Reddit users discover iOS malware threat
'Unflod Baby Panda' looks to snatch Apple IDs
Oracle working on at least 13 Heartbleed fixes
Big Red's cloud is safe and Oracle Linux 6 has been patched, but Java has some issues
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.