KIRKLAND, Wash. –Kirkland city officials said they are aware of a potential security/data incident related to its utility billing vendor, Automatic Funds Transfer Services, Inc (AFTS).

The city contracts with AFTS to handle Kirkland resident and commercial utility billing, including processing of paper check payments. The AFTS servers were encrypted by ransomware sometime between the evening of Feb. 3 and the morning of Feb. 4, 2021. There is no direct threat to the City of Kirkland’s network as a result of this incident.

The information stored in the AFTS databases is limited to data necessary to fulfill utility billing and payment processing of paper check payments. Electronic payments are processed by a different vendor who is not impacted by the incident.

Potentially breached information from the AFTS database may have included the following personal information: utility bill account number, name, address and billing amounts, city officials said.

Additionally, for residents or businesses who pay their utility bills by mailing a paper check, scanned copies of their paper checks are also stored on the AFTS servers which include bank account and routing information. It is unknown at this time whether these scanned copies of checks have been illicitly extricated from the network.

According to city officials, residents or businesses 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. The databases do not contain social security numbers, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, state ID numbers or any other Personally Identifiable Information (PII). The potential breach at AFTS did not impact credit cards. The databases do not contain any personal or commercial business credit card information.

“The City of Kirkland takes its role of safeguarding personal information very seriously and has ensured that this issue has been reported to the Kirkland Police Department and the FBI,” the city said in a news release. “We continue to discuss additional measures that we as a municipality can adopt to ensure the highest level of security for personal information.”

For questions, contact City of Kirkland Utility Billing at 425-587-3150 or [email protected]

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