State reveals data breach in unemployment system, changes made

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The state’s unemployment insurance computer system suffered a data breach April 23 but the breach was short-lived and the state has not received any incidents of people having their data compromised.

And even though the problem was fixed quickly and likely impacted only a small number of people, Gov. Andy Beshear has asked the Inspector General from the Transportation Cabinet to review the situation and make sure all the repairs and safeguards that have been taken are sufficient and appropriate.

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“We take this very seriously,” Beshear said, questioning the fact it took a month for the breach to be disclosed.

People whose data may hat risk are being contacted and will receive letters or e-mails.

In addition, Beshear is reorganizing the unemployment system, moving it to Labor Cabinet where it will have more experience and more resources, he said, noting that’s “where it needs to be.”

During the governor’s daily briefing, Josh Benton, who helps oversee the unemployment insurance, said the state had processed more than 15,000 claims from March and April in the last week. The state has assigned its most-experienced staff to continue hammering through what are the “most difficult” cases that remain.

“These are some of the most complex and most difficult claims,” Benton said.

He also disclosed the data breach, which was reported at 9:17 a.m. on April 23 when a unemployment claimant reported they had been able to see other people’s documents when they went all the way through their on claim to their own documents.

The state shut down the  system immediately and by the end of the day, had a computer patch in place to correct the flaw, Benton said.

“We feel it was a very limited number of individuals” who were impacted, Benton said.