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Qakbot Causes Data Breach at Mass. Unemployment Agency

Officials in Massachusetts say 210,000 unemployed residents may have had their personal information compromised after uncovering a computer virus that allowed hackers to steal confidential data, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers, Boston Herald reports.

The W32.QAKBOT virus did not infect the labor department’s hard drives, so it could have only stolen information entered into the labor department’s computers from April 19 through last Friday, officials said.

Although employees noticed April 20 their computers were running slowly, the department’s security system failed to detect and remove the virus, UPI said.

“I apologize to our customers and recognize that this is an unwanted problem,“ Joanne Goldstein, secretary of labor and workforce development, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the actual impact on residents and businesses is minimal. The breach is no longer active.“

It is impossible to assess the actual number of individuals affected, Goldstein said, but any claimant who had their UI file manually accessed by could be affected.

“Additionally, businesses that file their quarterly statements manually (about 1,200 of 180,000) may have had identifying information transmitted through the virus,” she added. “For a claimant to have been impacted, a staff person would have had to key in sensitive information at an infected work station.”

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