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Arkansas's self-employed aid website back up after security flaw found

The website was initially shut down after an applicant found a security flaw that exposed personal information of thousands of Arkansans.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) website that was shut down after an applicant found a security flaw that exposed thousands of personal information is back up, officials say.

The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services sent out an email that explains the process of filing weekly claims to receive the PUA benefit payments on the website.

The website, which was built by third-party vendor Protech for $3 million, offers unemployment assistance to freelancers and contractors knocked out of work by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: FBI investigating security breach of Arkansas' self-employed aid website

Since the authorities were alerted before the weekend of the breach, technicians with the state Department of Commerce have been working to fix the site. 

It appears that the filing of weekly claims does not require applicants' personal identification or financial information, according to the ADWS.

“We are dedicated to getting Arkansans the unemployment benefits they have earned,” said Dr. Charisse Childers, director of the Division of Workforce Services. “We will continue to notify applicants as soon as approvals are determined and will remain in contact throughout the process.”

The ADWS payments are expected to be processed by the end of the weeks for the eligible and approved applicants who began filling out weekly claims today.

RELATED: Real-time updates: 80 new coronavirus cases in Arkansas, over 5,000 total

The security flaw discovery is still under investigation by the FBI.

"We urge the public to report any suspicious cyber activity to the FBI at www.ic3.gov," said Connor Hagan with the Little Rock bureau. "We’d also like to remind Arkansans to immediately report any cyber vulnerabilities they encounter online to law enforcement and then take no further action."