The COVID-19 pandemic has caused tough times for many people.
The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is working to provide some hope for self-employed workers and independent contractors with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
Those who have applied for this, though, may have had their personal information compromised.
According to a report by the Arkansas Times, the Social Security numbers, bank account and routing numbers of about 30,000 people have been exposed.
A computer programmer who was applying for unemployment noticed information being exposed, the Times reported.
The Division of Workforce was notified of the breach Friday morning, and the website was shut down later that day.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed this issue at a news conference.
“It was necessary to shut the system down," he said. “These steps have been taken consistent with our state requirements for any potential data breach."
Hutchinson said an investigation has started.
Applicants who may be impacted will be notified.
If necessary, they’ll be able to use a credit monitoring program.
“Our protocols is that law enforcement is notified of the breach. We obviously notify our cyber insurance carrier," Hutchinson said. “Forensics are currently being conducted by an outside IT expert that we want to make sure that the system is in good shape before it goes back online."
According to WHBQ-TV, the unemployment assistance page is back up and running.
Hutchison said there are more than 100 people working this weekend to make sure payments are dispersed.
In a statement, the Arkansas Division of Work Services said:
“Yesterday, we learned of a system vulnerability impacting the division of workforce services’ pandemic unemployment assistance application system and have disconnected outside access to the [program] network. [The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services] is committed to completing a full forensic review and will take all appropriate action in response to our findings.”
Cox Media Group