150,000 people will receive benefits late due to SEPE cyber attack
The cyber attack on the SEPE computer network in the first week of March has left staff working overtime to process all payments for unemployment and ERTE on time. Although the system is back up to being almost 100% operational, they have closed payments for April and almost 150,000 will be late due to the workload.
SEPE have said that the delay will be in around a dozen Spanish provinces, although Madrid, Barcelona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria stand out because they are the ones with delays for the most people.
The main cause of the problem is in the accumulated volume of work generated by the attack on the SEPE mainframe in the early hours of Tuesday March 9th. After this, the employment offices in Spain could not process a single file for four days, and since then, the systems are gradually recovering.
The Ministry of Labour has released a press statement about the situation, ensuring that anyone who doesn’t receive their payment on time will not have to wait until May, as it will be paid as quickly as they can process them.
RUSSIAN CYBER CRIMINALS ATTACKED SYSTEM:
Analysts at the National Cryptological Centre, working under the National Intelligence Centre (CNI), the secret service of Spain, claim the cyber attack was the work of a group of Russian cybercriminals, and the possibility that official Russian organizations were behind it, which was initially considered, has been ruled out as, no evidence has been found to support this hypothesis, according to government sources.
Experts from the CNI have carried out a forensic analysis of the attack, which was perpetrated with a Ryuk virus (a malicious program that locks computers or encrypts files and demands a ransom to release them) from servers hosted in Russia, and have tracked their creators to a group of cybercriminals. Some of these groups rent their services to individuals or states, making it difficult to identify the ultimate authorship, but there is no indication that this was the case in this attack.
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Experts believe that the cyber attack took advantage of a security breach in the SEPE's computer systems to sneak in, as they have done in other public institutions and private companies inside and outside Spain.
Those responsible for the Ministry of Labour also assure that the attack only affected the Windows operating system and that the attackers were unable to steal or encrypt the data of the millions of users of this service, since daily backups are made of all the formalities.