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Cyber attacks on software companies have disrupted unemployment benefits in some states

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Cyber ​​attacks on software companieshave disrupted unemployment and job-seeking support for thousands of people in several states.

In Tennessee, the unemployment allowance website remained down Thursday morning after vendor Geographic Solutions Inc. told the state that it would be out of service on Sunday. About 12,000 Tennessees are dependent on the unemployment program and so far they have not been paid.

The company said it expects the Tennessee system to return online by July 4. Republican Senator Paul Bailey, Chairman of the Commerce, Industry and Labor Relations Commission.

In a statement Wednesday evening, the president of Geographic Solutions said the initial findings show that personal data has not been accessed and has not been deleted from the Network Operations Center. Said.

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President Paul Toomey said his company identified "abnormal activity" on the network and immediately took the Tennessee system offline and stopped working.

“We are conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause and scope of the incident with the help of third-party experts,” says Toomey. "The investigation is still underway and we are taking steps to prevent this from happening again."

Unemployment websites in several other statesWas also affected. In Louisiana, people trying to apply for unemployment online are instructed to use a call center instead. The website for filing claims in Nebraska has been taken offline, saying the state does not have an accurate timeline as to when it will be backed up.

"Individuals cannot apply for unemployment until the system is back online," Grace Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska Ministry of Labor, said in an email.

It's still unclear whether the ransomware attacks affected Geographic Solutions or other types of cyber incidents. Also, the number of affected states is not clear.

The Geographic Solutions website wasn't working Thursday morning. The Florida-based company states that its customers include more than 35 states and territories.

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Some state-owned job search sites Was also taken offline for the following reasons: Attacks involving Tennessee. Florida said it has temporarily abandoned job hunting requirements for those receiving unemployment benefits. Texas has created a new website for job seekers with links to popular job search sites such as LinkedIn.

Cyberattacks have been disrupting unemployment in some states.

Cyber ​​attacks have disrupted unemployment in some states. (REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo)

Nebraska, Geographic Solutionsput your personal data at risk Said that it shows that it has not been. Florida said there were no signs that the state's system had been compromised.

Tennessee Parliamentarian Bailey said the state's Ministry of Labor needs a backup plan. "I'm not entirely dependent on a system that has proven unreliable," he said. He said the state should provide people with unemployment benefits now and "do whatever it takes" to streamline the process of updating the system with the funds secured by state legislators.

The length of the potential outage is unknown. Texas said it expects job-hunting sites to remain offline until early next week.

State governments and their contractors are often the target of cybercriminals. Nigerian online scammerswere particularly active in stealing rising unemployment during the peak coronavirus pandemic.

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Ransomware attack. The criminal encrypts the victim's data, requests payment and returns them. As usual, it continues to cause havoc on digital systems that provide critical government services. A recent ransomware attack on the Costa Rican government has left teachers unpaid and disrupted the country's health system.

Last year, cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack in the United States, forced to shut down oil pipelines to the east coast, shutting down production at the world's largest meat processing company, and thousands. Customers around the world have endangered major software companies.

Despite prioritizing the issue, the United States could hardly hold the government accountable to major ransomware actors. Many are exempt from liability in or near Russia.

Alan Lisca, an intelligence analyst at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, highlights the potential impact of cybercrime on attacks that affect people who have lost their jobs due to unemployment benefits. He said it was a reminder.

"The ones who are most adversely affected by this are the people with the fewest resources," he said.