SPAIN’S State Public Employment Service (SEPE) Website Hit By Cyber Attack
Spain’s State Public Employment Service (SEPE), which handles unemployment benefits and ERTE throughout Spain has been the victim today (Tuesday 9) of a cyberattack that has paralyzed its electronic and face-to-face appointment-setting services and other procedures, sources confirmed to ABC.
A ministerial spokesman said “At the moment it is not possible to access the website”, with the Central Trade Union Independent and Officials (CSIF) reporting that the attack has affected the system nationwide, in the 710 offices that provide face-to-face service and in the 52 telematics.
The attack is under investigation by the National Cryptological Center, which are also dependent on the CNI (National Intelligence Center) and SEPE’s own computer equipment.
Sources from the Ministry of Labour told ABC that the virus was only created yesterday, which is why they have rejected criticism of greater vulnerability due to the age of the programs, after accusations from unions like CSIF.
Despite being a ransomware virus, no ransom has yet been requested, only an attempt made to block the system, “with the sole objective of damaging and doing reputational damage”, and there is no report of any data theft.
The department of Yolanda Díaz, the Minister of Labour and Social Economy has stated that nobody has come forward yet claiming to be responsible for the attack and that the virus has not affected the system that manages the collection of ERTE and unemployment benefits.
Gerardo Gutiérrez, the general director of SEPE, confirmed to ABC that “the confidentiality of user data or the management system for the payment of benefits and ERTE has not been affected”, adding that users who had appointments are being now attended by telephone.
Mr Gutiérrez pointed out that according to the technicians, the virus is “the latest version of the RYUK virus” and that the possible reasons behind this action would be to damage the reputation of the organisation, saying, “This is a cyberattack similar to the one that other companies or administrations have received globally”.
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