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Hackers breach bank's online system
[March 31, 2011]

Hackers breach bank's online system

AUGUSTA, Mar 31, 2011 (Kennebec Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Kennebec Savings Bank's online banking system was infiltrated by an outside party and bank officials are working with a team of computer forensics experts to find out which customers may have been affected and what information may have been accessed.

Bank officials said there was no unauthorized access to customer funds, Social Security numbers or debit or credit card information.

"It's safe to use now, it was safe to use then," President and CEO Mark Johnston said of the bank's online banking system. "Unfortunately, these things do happen. There are bad guys out there working overtime on how to get money out of people which they have no right to. But no customer accounts were compromised. Not a dime was lost in our customers' accounts, or our accounts." An investigation into which customers may have been affected, and what information may have been accessed, is ongoing.

Johnston said Wednesday bank officials determined the incident affected only Internet banking customers and no other Kennebec Savings Bank account holders.

According to a statement from the Augusta-based bank, the preliminary investigation indicated sophisticated "malware" permitted entry into the bank's online banking system.

Malware is malicious software or potentially unwanted software installed without the host's consent, according to

Johnston said an alert bank employee "saw something that didn't look right" on March 21.

Fearing suspicious activity involving unauthorized access to the online banking system, the bank shut the system down immediately to protect against further unauthorized access and initiated an investigation.

"Security systems were in place and working," Johnston said. "We try to stay on our toes. In this case, it worked." Kennebec Saving Bank's online banking system was back up and running in about 48 hours.

Johnston said the bank hired a nationally recognized computer forensic team, Maine-based Sageworks, to assist with the investigation, and has been working closely with the U.S. Secret Service and other authorities.

In talking to computer security experts, Johnston said, it became clear Kennebec Savings Bank is only one of numerous banks to have been targeted through various attempts to hack into banking systems nationwide.

The bank said it would post information on its website, at, and update it as more information becomes available.

"We are working diligently to determine exactly which of our customers may have been affected and exactly what information may have been accessed," a statement on the bank's website says. "We have re-established our online banking system in a safe and secure manner for our customers. We apologize for any inconvenience our customers have experienced as a result of the unavailability of the online banking system, and any concerns they may have concerning this situation. We will be notifying affected customers as soon as we can." Johnston encouraged any customers with concerns, or who see any suspicious activity in their accounts, to call the bank immediately.

Keith Edwards -- 621-5647 To see more of the Kennebec Journal or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2011, Kennebec Journal, Augusta, Maine Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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