As individuals were beginning to seek COVID-19 benefits, hackers disrupted Italy’s Social Security internet site, per the leader of the welfare agency. Pasquale Tridico said his INPS unit had taken in approximately 339,000 applications to receive the $655 (600 euros) in benefits, but hackers had impacted the website’s accessibility, Reuters reported.
Tridico said he notified authorities about the incident, which has brought into question the security of the country’s online infrastructure as it grapples with the COVID-19 crisis.
“In the last few days, we have suffered several hacker attacks that produced a major breakdown,” Tridico announced. “They continued today and we had to close the website.”
Users who were attempting to sign onto the INPS’ website earlier on Wednesday (April 1) reportedly experienced a significant interruption. Some noted that other people’s personal information showed up on their displays.
Italy’s government has put a lockdown into place in an effort to stop the coronavirus’ spread. The limitations have ground much of the nation's business ecosystem to a stop, and have also disrupted the livelihoods of a number of individuals. Seasonal or self-employed workers can ask INPS for a special payout of 600 euros due to the economic crisis.
In separate news, the government of Italy had mandated that all retailers except for grocers and pharmacies shut down, per published reports earlier in the month, in a further expansion of the country’s efforts to keep the virus from spreading.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told one outlet that all merchants, with the inclusion of nonessential restaurants and cafes, would need to be shuttered amid the virus outbreak. Other businesses, with the inclusion of banks, post offices, factories, transportation services and the public sector, were to stay in operation.