Alderwood Water and Wastewater District said Friday it has been impacted by a data breach from a vendor, Automatic Funds Transfer Services, Inc. (AFTS), that was the victim of a ransomware attack.
The district is the largest water and sewer district in the state of Washington, serving a population of over 245,000 retail and wholesale customers, including parts of unincorporated Snohomish County and portions of Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Brier.
The City of Mountlake Terrace, which also contracts with AFTS, announced earlier this week that it had been impacted by the data breach.
The Alderwood District contracts with AFTS to handle all mail billing and processing paper check payments. The district said it doesn’t know the extent of the data breach, but does know that AFTS uses digitally scanned images of the check to process paper checks. It is unknown at this time whether these scanned copies of checks have been illicitly extricated from the network, the district said.
Customers who pay their utility bill by mailing a paper check are encouraged to monitor their bank account for unusual activity and report anything suspicious to their bank right away.
“Alderwood Water & Wastewater District takes its role of safeguarding personal information very seriously and will not be using AFTS to handle mail billing or process mail check payments during this data security incident,” the district said in a statement. “The most immediate impacts to our customers are a possible delay in processing check payments or a temporary disruption in viewing a PDF version of your billing statement online.”
Customers can go to awwd.com/impact/emergency-information/afts-inc-security-issue for more information.