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Data breach reported at Florida Department of Economic Opportunity

Data breach reported at Florida Department of Economic Opportunity FDEO)

A data breach affecting Florida's unemployment claims system was reported Thursday by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

A spokesperson told CBS12 News that all individuals who were part of the incident have been notified and the issue was addressed within an hour after officials became aware of the breach. The DEO said 98 people in total have been notified in relation to the breach.

"All you really need is a few seconds," technology expert Craig Agranoff said, adding that it takes far under an hour for a breach to put data at risk. "Anything over [seconds] is like giving them an eternity in there."

While the incident was handled within 1 hour, in an abundance of caution, we are making available identity protection services at no charge to affected individuals, and we have also advised them to report any unauthorized activity on their financial accounts. At this time, we have not received any reports of malicious activity.

The department would not specify exactly when the breach occurred or was discovered, but said no one has yet reported malicious financial activity as a result of the breach.

Thursday's announcement comes as the DEO remains under a microscope for a flawed unemployment claims website and continued allegations that people seeking assistance can't get through to or are hung up on by the department's call centers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis launched a formal investigation into the DEO's CONNECT website, which continued to crash on applicants in March. The Governor says the CONNECT website was not designed to deal with the sheer number of applications it received amid COVID-19 shutdowns.

Democrats in Florida's Congressional delegation has also asked for a federal review of the state's unemployment system.

Over 223,000 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday an estimated 223,927 initial claims were submitted in Florida during the week that ended May 16.