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CRIME

Texas county blames hackers for $27G phone bill charge

Leaders of a Central Texas county have blamed hackers on an international calling spree for a phone bill that's at least $27,000 higher than usual.

The Temple Daily Telegram reports experts believe hackers infiltrated Bell County's phone system from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

Auditor Donna Eakin says the county's phone bill in October was $855. The bill for one day during the hacking period was $27,220.22.

The newspaper reported Sunday that officials partly blame a weak password on an extension in the Road and Bridge Department. Cracking the four-digit password led hackers to an automated menu and improper routing of calls to the Caribbean nation of Grenada.

Security has been tightened, although county technology official Jim Chandler says another intrusion was detected Dec. 13 with help from AT&T.