A Canadian university loses US$9m in new phishing attack

University spokesperson assures students that the situation is under control.

MacEwan University in Alberta, Canada on Wednesday had reported having lost around US$9m following a phishing scam. A university spokesperson has assured the students in a statement that "IT systems were not compromised" when the incident transpired.

In a report published on the university's website, a string of falsified emails swayed a university staff to alter electronic banking information for one of the school's major vendors. This resulted to the US$9m being transferred to the bank account of the vendor.

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The amount is traced to accounts in Canada and Hong Kong. MacEwan University is currently conducting an investigation into the incident and seeking the help of legal counsel in Montreal, Hong Kong and London "to pursue civil action to recover the money".

As the funds have been frozen, the remaining balance is still unknown at this time. University spokesperson David Beharry has assured the students that the situation is under control, adding that the incident does not affect the academic or business operations of the university.

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"As our students come back to start the new academic year, we want to assure them and the community that our IT systems were not compromised during this incident," says Beharry. "Personal and financial information, and all transactions made with the university are secure."

Results of the investigation are expected to come out in the next few weeks.