Nearly 8,000 could be affected by federal emergency loan data breach
Nearly 8,000 business owners who applied for a Small Business Administration loan may have had their personal information exposed to other applicants, the SBA admitted Tuesday.
The violation concerns a long-standing SBA program called Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). It has traditionally been used to help homeowners whose businesses are disrupted by hurricanes, tornadoes, or other disasters. It was recently expanded by Congress in the $ 2.2 trillion CARES Act. In addition to loans, the law allowed grants of up to $ 10,000 that do not need to be repaid.
The EIDL program is separate from the larger paycheck protection program that was also part of the CARES Act. The SBA says PPP applicants were unaffected by the violation.
An official in the Trump administration describes the problem to CNBC:
The official said that in order to access information from other business owners, small business applicants must have been on the loan application portal. If the user attempted to press the back page button, they may have seen information that belonged to another business owner, not theirs.
The SBA said it discovered the flaw on March 25 and notified affected users. A victim posted a copy last Friday from a paper letter she received regarding the violation. The letter said personally identifiable information, including social security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and financial data, may have been disclosed. The letter stated that, as of last week, there were still no signs of data misuse.
ASB said that he immediately deactivated the part of his website that exposed candidate data, fixed the problem, and relaunched the website. Affected businesses were offered a year of free credit monitoring.
An overwhelming demand
The SBA has struggled to keep up with the demand for EIDL loans. Before the coronavirus crisis, small businesses were supposed to be eligible for up to $ 2 million in disaster loans.
But with millions of businesses seeking help, the SBA has been forced to limit loans to just $ 10,000. Despite the limitations, the SBA website currently States that it not accept new requests due to lack of funds.
As of April 19, SBA had approved nearly 27,000 EIDL loans worth $ 5.6 billion. Another 755,000 companies received EIDL grants worth a total of $ 3.3 billion. The head of the Trump administration told CNBC that 4 million business owners had requested assistance worth $ 383 billion, far more than the $ 17 billion allocated to the program.
The PPP also saw overwhelming demand, with funding running out within days. A legislative compromise announced Tuesday could replenish the two programs, with the PPP getting an additional $ 320 billion and the EIDL $ 60 billion.