Cybercriminals have targeted Hawaii’s most vulnerable residents by launching a cyber attack on the state’s nutritional and financial assistance programs. This attack has resulted in hundreds of people having their accounts emptied or being subjected to fraudulent purchases, creating significant hardships.
Furthermore, the victims, including Erica Tatay, were left emotionally distraught, and many were unable to purchase food or discovered suspicious transactions on their statements. State officials first received complaints on Friday and quickly identified at least 230 victims statewide by the following Monday, according to the state Department of Human Services.
Additionally, government benefit programs are increasingly becoming targets for this type of cyber activity, and Hawaii is no exception. Benefits administrator Scott Murashige acknowledged the growing prevalence of phishing and skimming activities across the country.
Honolulu police are actively investigating around a dozen reports related to this cyber attack. Retired cybercrime investigator Chris DuQue believes the attack likely began with a local criminal using EBT card readers to steal account information, followed by selling the data on the dark web.
While restoring money for SNAP accounts is possible due to the federal program, it is less clear for general financial assistance recipients. Nevertheless, the harm caused to these families is evident, particularly in a place like Hawaii, where the cost of living is high, and food prices are steep. Erica Tatay’s words capture the sentiments of many victims as they grapple with the consequences of this distressing cyber attack.