By Jennifer Leighfield • 16 March 2021 • 11:01
THE State Public Employment Service (SEPE) website is once again giving users appointments and the pre-application service for individual benefits is also up and running.
Services on the website were partially restored yesterday afternoon, Monday, March 15, following a cyber attack last Tuesday that left the agency’s online services down for a week.
Experts from the National Cryptological Centre, the State Public Employment Service (SEPE) and the General Secretariat for Digital Administration have worked tirelessly to get the services running as normal as soon as possible with the maximum safety conditions, according to the Ministry of Employment.
Other functions on the web are still not available, but the service to get an appointment in an unemployment office is available and so is the first step to apply for benefits.
The other functions should be restored gradually as experts work as quickly as possible.
Deadlines for requesting benefits have been extended.
The Director General of SEPE, Gerardo Gutierrez, said that the security problem had been contained. He also ruled out that the agency’s computer applications or confidential data had been affected. The situation, he said “will not affect the rights of applicants for benefits, since the deadlines for requesting them will be extended by as many days as the applications are out of service.”
The SEPE computer service was infected with a ‘ransomware’, a malicious software that has the ability to encrypt files and lock computers in order to demand money in exchange for returning normal operation to the system. However, sources from SEPE had said that no ransom had been requested.
Unions have said that the problem could have been caused by the use of personal computers by staff of the unemployment agency who are currently working from home. The unions claim that SEPE refused to give staff company computers back at the beginning of the State of Alarm.
Apparently an audit back in 2019 had already warned that the agency was in critical danger of coming under attack from cyber criminals.
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
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