by J.D. Davidson
An Ohio lawmaker wants the state to provide more answers quickly as to why personal information and online portal accounts were compromised on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website.
Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, wrote to ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder after witness testimony reported the hacking of personal, online portal accounts allowed bank routing information to be changed and unemployment funds to be redirected.
“Needless to say, I’m deeply alarmed by the lack of urgency on this issue and the denials that hacking has occurred and is ongoing,” Crossman said. “We have a Cyber Reserve unit of the National Guard that has never been called in to assess the security risks and address security concerns, and that alone is unbelievable.”
Crossman temporarily replaced Rep. Lisa Sobecki, D-Toledo, at a meeting earlier in August of the Unemployment Compensation and Modernization and Improvement Council, which is charged with recommending changes to the state’s unemployment system.
That group recommended several changes, but only an idea to bring together public and private sector leaders to improve on the technology of the state’s unemployment system dealt closely with Crossman’s concerns.
Other recommendations included elevating the visibility of public understanding of unemployment compensation, improving accuracy and efficiency in the claim process and authentication and improving transparency and communications for Ohioans who have filed claims.
“It has always been the goal of this council to help constituents and build transparency for Ohioans navigating the unemployment system,” Rep. Mark Fraizer, R-Newark, said. “This initial report helps document the understanding and background compiled through the council for a better informed public.”
Crossman, though, continues to push for answers regarding possible hacking.
“Ohioans must have assurances that their bank account information, Social Security numbers and other personal identifying information are secure in the state’s hands and not subject to cybercriminals poised to steal people’s identities and wreak financial havoc on the lives of people already experiencing financial difficulties,” Crossman wrote.
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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.
Photo “Hacker” by Christopher Scholtz (CC BY-SA 2.0).