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(UPDATE 10:45-a.m.) Nishna Valley YMCA loses nearly $50,000 in cyber attack

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic has lost nearly $50,000 in a cyber attack. Dan Haynes, Executive Director at the YMCA, told reporters this (Wednesday) morning during a Press Conference, that their computer systems were recently infected by a virus that targeted their ACH financial transactions. He said the YMCA sustained loses under $50,000, and due to banking regulation, some of those funds may be frozen and may eventually be recovered. He says there are two separate batches of accounts, one for $9,000 and one for $4,000 that have been frozen.

He said they found out about the questionable transactions after they were notified by their financial institution on November 23rd. Haynes went on to say that it does not appear the virus went after their members’ personal financial information, but it’s possible some of that information, such as checking or bank account routing numbers, may have been compromised. He said those members who make one annual payment or those who do payroll deductions have not been affected.

Haynes said according to the authorities who are investigating the crime, anyone who has been a member of the YMCA for longer than 6 months, that their information is ok, but there’s no guarantee that is the case, because the incident is still under investigation.

He said because their computers are still being examined by the FBI, and they won’t know the full extent of the damage for at least another two- to three-months. Haynes said the cyber-thieves are primarily targeting businesses that handle large ACH transfers, those over $100,000, for example. But anyone with concerns about their ACH transactions should take some precautions to make sure their money is safe.

He says that would include closely monitoring your bank account and notifying your financial institution, local law enforcement and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, if you see any unauthorized activity.  Experts also recommend you contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or Trans Union), to find out if there have been changes to your credit report.

Haynes says the YMCA does have high quality computer security systems, but the virus is virtually undetectable by antivirus software and current firewall technology, because it morphs or changes so frequently, those systems cannot keep up. He added that this is the first time they have experienced this type of security breach, and they’re working with the authorities to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The theft means the YMCA has had to dip into its reserve funds to pay the bills for the month of December. He says if those funds are not recovered, it may mean putting off the purchasing of new equipment or making some repairs next Summer, but it will not affect their financial assistance programs. If you have any questions about the ACH cyber attack on the YMCA’s computers, call Dan Haynes at 712-243-3934.

Adams County authorities investigate wire theft

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Sheriff’s officials in Adams County are asking for the public’s help in solving an incident of theft. Early this (Wednesday) morning, the Southwest Iowa Rural Iowa REC’s warehouse on the north edge of Corning, was broken into. The sheriff’s office says after further investigation, they believe a person or persons parked about one-half mile away on a gravel road, and walked to the warehouse, where they pried open a back door.

Once inside, the thieves took 2 rolls of solid #6 wire, 2 rolls of #6 stranded wire, and 2 rolls of #4 stranded wire. They also took a white 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck. Officials say the suspects threw the REC employees’ work bags on the floor and loaded the wire. They then drove the truck down the road and parked on the side of the road, where they unloaded the wire. The vehicle, which was left at the scene, did not sustain any damage.

An inventory was being conducted at the warehouse to determine if any additional materials were missing. If you have information with regard to the crime, contact the Adams County Sheriff’s Office at 641-322-4444.

Atlantic woman arrested on drug charge

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic Police Department reports a local woman was arrested Tuesday on a warrant for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. 40-year old Samantha Susann Lawton, of Atlantic, was brought to the Cass County Jail and held pending a court appearance.

8AM Newscast 12-07-2011

News, Podcasts

December 7th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Denison man to appear in court on Harlan burglary charge next month

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A Denison man arrested last month on burglary and criminal mischief charges is free on bond, with his trial set to take place next month. 20-year old Winston Joseph Leal was charged in connection with an incident which occurred in Harlan on October 27th. Leal allegedly kicked in the walk-in door of a garage at 411 6th St. in Harlan. While in the garage, he allegedly took a sub woofer box containing three 10-inch speakers, and destroyed a 50-inch, flat-screen television, valued at $1,300.

Leal  faces felony charges of burglary in the third-degree, and second-degree criminal mischief. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, with additional fines totaling $10,000.  Leal posted a $10,000 bond last Friday (December 2nd), and is scheduled to appear at his trial on January 31st in Shelby County District Court. 

In addition, Leal has pled not guilty to a charge filed in November, of Interference with Official Acts. The offense allegedly happened on November 14th. His trial on that Serious Misdemeanor charge will take place May 8th, 2012.

7AM Newscast 12-07-2011

News, Podcasts

December 7th, 2011 by Chris Parks

w/ Ric Hanson

Play

Corps to decrease flow from dam on Missouri River

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to decrease the flow from Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota to increase flood control storage on the Missouri River, which had record flooding this year.The corps plans to gradually decrease the release starting Thursday. Officials say the current release rate of 40,000 cubic feet per second will be decreased by 3,000 cfs each day until Dec. 14, when the flows will be set at 20,000 cfs for the winter.The corps had initially planned to decrease the flow last week, but extended the high release to add additional storage for the runoff season next spring. The Missouri River had a summer of flooding because of heavy rain and melting snow.

Latest Postal Service budget cutting plan tied to proposed shut downs of Iowa facilities

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A U.S. Postal Service proposal filed this week to end next-day delivery of First Class mail is tied to plans to close hundreds of mail processing facilities around the country including four in Iowa. Postal Service spokesman Richard Watkins says there’s been a dramatic drop in mail volume in recent years – especially First Class mail. The shift has contributed to the Postal Service’s five-point-one billion-dollars ($5.1 billion) in debt this year alone.

“As you begin to dispatch less than full pallets and ship less than full truck loads, that’s when it gets really expensive,” Watkins said. The Postal Regulatory Commission likely won’t issue an opinion on the proposed changes for several months. The processing centers being considered for closure in Iowa are located in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Carroll and Creston. Facilities in Fort Dodge and Sioux City have already closed. And the Postal Service earlier announced plans to close up to 175 Post Offices in the state. Watkins notes First Class mail volume has dropped 27-percent in just three years.

“In 2005, for example, only five-percent of people paid their bills online. Now, that figure is 60-percent. So, there’s been a huge shift in the way our customers nationwide are using the mail,” Watkins said. The Postal Service is also turning to Congress in hopes of changing policies that would save the agency billions of dollars. One would eliminate a requirement to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. Another change, which Watkins says many customers support, would eliminate mail delivery on Saturdays. 

 He notes independent opinion surveys of both residential and commercial mailers have found nearly 70-percent would accept a five-day delivery week as a way to keep postal rates down. Watkins said, since 2006, the U.S. Postal Service has cut jobs and consolidated services to save about 12-billion dollars ($12 billion) — but much more still need to be done.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa)

Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic confirms it was hit in cyber attack

News

December 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Last week we told you about a cyber attack targeting local businesses and in some cases individuals who conduct a substantial amount of Automated Clearing House, or ACH, transactions from their computers. ACH is an electronic network for financial transactions, that processes large volumes of both credit and debit transactions which are originated in batches. Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green said at the time, that there was one confirmed victim of the attacks, and another suspected of being attacked.

Today, the Nishna Valley Family YMCA in Atlantic is set to announce its computer systems have been breached by a cyber virus aimed at the organization’s financial information. We contacted YMCA Executive Director Dan Haynes last week who confirmed the Y’s computers had been hit by a key-logging virus, but he would not disclose the amount of money they lost as a result of the breach. That is expected to become clearer today, during a press conference slated for 10-a.m.

In a letter sent to YMCA members, Haynes and the YMCA Board said authorities are continuing to investigate the financial breach of information, which has affected the Y’s General Fund. At this point, investigators with the FBI, Iowa DCI and Atlantic Police do not believe the virus sought to obtain members’ banking information, but it is possible that the information was compromised. Any person or business who has made automatic payments to the Y, according to the letter, needs to take necessary precautions.

That would include closely monitoring your bank account and notifying your financial institution, local law enforcement and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, if you see any unauthorized activity.  Experts also recommend you contact the three U.S. credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or Trans Union), to find  out if there have been changes to your credit report.

Their contact information is as follows:

Equifax, 1-800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com       Experian, 1-888-397-3742 or www.experian.com

and, TransUnion, LLC, 1-800-888-4213 or www.transunion.com

In addition, you may be eligible for a free credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by accessing annualcreditreport.com

Authorities say they believe the cyber thieves were only interested in company ACH information, which is the reason the Nishna Valley YMCA notified its members by mail, that if they have conducted ACH transactions with the YMCA, such as automatic payment processing through monthly drafts…the bank routing number on that account and the name on the account could potentially have been compromised.

It won’t be know how long the attack affected the YMCA’s computers for several months, while the investigation is underway, or what data was compromised. The Y does have a security system in place to protect personal information, but as Police Chief Green said last week, the virus is virtually undetectable even with the best anti-virus software and firewalls. If you have any questions about the ACH cyber attack on the YMCA’s computers, call Dan Haynes at 712-243-3934.

Atlantic City Council to consider AMU budget & hold public hearing on sale of land

News

December 6th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council is set to consider a resolution during their meeting Wednesday evening, to approve the 2012 Budget for Atlantic Municipal Utilities. The proposed budget for the Electric and Water Departments for Calendar Year 2012 totals nearly $10.8-million, which is an increase of nearly $665,000 or 6.6% over the current year re-estimate.

The increased cost is being offset with increases in AMU’s electric rates of 10-14% that went into effect last month. City Administrator Doug Harris says AMU’s proposed budget calls for a $360,000 transfer to the City, in lieu of paying property taxes…something Harris says is a common practice, as a private utility would pay property taxes, and be subject to a franchise fee of up to 5%. AMU’s contribution amounts to about 3.3% of their revenues, which is designed to offset AMU’s utility charges to the City. 

In other business, the City Council in Atlantic will act on a motion to direct staff to advertise the sale of nearly 13-acres of City-owned land adjacent to the old Delong Building, by means of a public auction. The Council Finance Committee is recommending a public hearing be held and consideration be given to selling the two parcels, which total 12.93-acres. The City has advertised for bids on the agricultural lease of the two parcels, and may act Wednesday on awarding the three-year agricultural lease, during their meeting. 

And, the Council will act on a Resolution amending City policy, for the expenditure of public funds for observances which include events such as the Christmas Party for City Employees. Monies for the event have come, in the past, from pop machine profits and donations. Under State Code, those types of expenditures should be included in the City’s policy that authorizes those types of observances. Harris will recommend to the Council expenditures be allowed for the Christmas Party, with a limit not to exceed $400.

The City Council meeting begins at 5:30-p.m. Wednesday, December 7th.