Kentuckians struggling to get unemployment checks are frustrated to hear about hack attempt

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:18 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A cyber attack on the unemployment insurance claim system shut down the external website for a couple of hours Wednesday. And, for one Kentuckian it just adds to the frustrations people already have trying to get their unemployment checks.

“It seems like to me they just try to make excuse after excuse,” Greg Vannatter said.

Vannatter has been on unemployment for nearly a year, and after several issues early on, he started receiving his unemployment checks but those paydays stopped last October.

“I’ve made a million phone calls and sent emails to everybody,” Vannatter said.

He hasn’t been able to get in touch with anyone in the unemployment office and has moved in with his sister unable to pay the bills on his own.

Since then, State Auditor Mike Harmon has called the claims processing system a failure and highlighted 400,000 unread emails.

Now, we’re learning of a hack attempt. Officials said unidentified suspects overwhelmed the system with random login usernames.

None of the login attempts were successful and officials said no information was compromised.

But, Vannatter said it’s one more thing to slow down a system that he feels is already at a standstill.

“You can’t get anybody to talk to you, that’s the bad part,” Vannatter said. “You’re just standing in limbo not knowing what you’re going to do from day to day.”

According to the Kentucky Career Center, the unemployment office reported the cyber attack to the Kentucky Labor Cabinet just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The website is back up and running, but Vannatter said that has offered little to no support even before the attack, so he doesn’t have high hopes after it.

“If you’d see a little bit of forward progress in this situation, it’d give you a little bit of hope but it doesn’t seem like anyone out here has any hope,” Vannatter said. “It seems like everything is going backward and they’re not getting any answers, that’s the problem, no answers.”

We’ve reached out to the governor’s office for comment about the cyber attack but have not heard back.

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