State temporarily shutting down unemployment system to combat fraud, hacking
FRANKFORT, Ky. - On Thursday, Amy Cubbage, Gov. Beshear’s general counsel, said the state’s unemployment system would temporarily shut down due to fraudulent claims and hacking attempts.
“While this is a big step, given that this sophisticated attack could take money that was otherwise going to Kentuckians, it is a step we absolutely have to take,” said Gov. Beshear. “We can’t allow people to steal the state’s money and prevent those who are entitled to receive these dollars from getting the help they need.”
Using known or predictable user information like social security numbers, hackers used automated tools to attempt to gain unauthorized access to a claimant accounts.
“Although the UI PINs are encrypted, it is possible for a person with enough computing power to guess an encrypted PIN by testing particularly weak or obvious four digit combinations,” said Cubbage. “We had 3,995 users who used a PIN that was 1234, more than 1,500 users who set PINs that were 2020 and more than 1,200 users whose PINs were set to 1111. To enhance the security of the system, we will be shutting down the UI system temporarily.”
The system will shut down for four days from April 9 at 12 a.m. EDT to April 13 at 12 a.m. EDT. Claimants will be unable to file new claims or request their benefits during this time, but UI staff will be able to backdate any new claims that should have been filed during the shutdown. Internal systems will remain operational so UI staff will still be working to process claims.
“If you have benefits to request and you have not been locked out of the system, you can access the system until tonight at midnight,” said Cubbage. “Letters are going out to active UI accounts giving them a new eight-digit PIN. Systems will be available on Tuesday to re-register or register for the first time through the new welcome pages at uiclaimsportal.ky.gov or through the KCC website.”
Claimants will need to:
- Create a new 12-digit password;
- Verify their email address and receive an access code through their email account;
- Use the new eight-digit PIN they were mailed;
- Know that the telephone claiming system (interactive voice response) will use the new eight-digit PIN; and
- Review all the information on their account to make sure it is correct.
If the last four digits of their bank account or routing number is not in their UI account, claimants will receive a paper check.
“The Labor Cabinet will be sending out a press release and posting information on the KCC homepage with detailed information,” Cubbage said. “Active claimants do not need to file a new claim when the system is back up.”
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