Nearly $1 million was stolen from CHET — Connecticut Higher Education Trust — accounts during a security breach and 21 account holders were affected, according to the Office of the State Treasurer. Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier said that TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., the CHET Direct program manager, alerted the state Treasury about the breach and will restore the affected accounts. Nappier said unauthorized individuals gained online access to 21 CHET account holders and made 44 withdrawals, amounting to a total of $1,416,635, of that, $442,540 was recovered or stopped.

Andy Norton, Director of Threat Intelligence at Lastline:

“The Connecticut Higher Education Trust, is one of the top ten 529 education savings plans in the US, there are around 3000 plans to choose from, no details of the method of intrusion have been published however there appears to be residual evidence of a phishing campaign. This should sound alarm bells for the other Education plan providers in the US, getting away with $1 million will put a target on them too.

Some 529 plans have made 2 factor authentication mandatory, and this would seem like a good measure to raise the bar in preventing these type of attacks being successful.”

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