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Howard Co. Executive Ball's email account hacked

Posted at 11:18 PM, Dec 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-24 17:04:51-05

ELLICOTT CITY, Md (WMAR) — Howard County officials are cautioning citizens about a particular email they may have received from an email blast account belonging to County Executive, Calvin Ball.

On Sunday evening, the County reported that Ball's Constant Contact email account had been compromised.

A hacker reportedly obtained access to the account at around 6:30 p.m. and distributed emails that falsely claimed to be from Netflix. A message in the email suggests the recipients Netflix account has been canceled, and directs the customer to click on a link and update their payment information in order to renew their subscription.

The infiltrator created three phishing campaigns using various mailing lists under the account.

According to the county, approximately 35,000 fraudulent emails were sent. Around 4,550 of those recipients opened the email with under two percent actually clicking the link. Anyone who did click on the link and provided information is urged to go to the official Netflix website and follow the listed instructions.

Those who may have received the email and have not yet seen it are likely to see "Account Cancellation" in the subject line, and should immediately delete it.

In a tweet, Ball said the account compromised was used during his time on the County Council. After noticing suspicious activity, Constant Contact suspended the account as of 8:40 p.m. on Sunday and disabled the scam link attached to the phishing emails.

Officials say no county databases were breached as result. The county also stressed that no confidential data of any recipients was stored in the affected account.

The account has since returned online.