COVID-19 has affected our daily lives profoundly. Working from home, distance learning for students, and the terrible blow dealt to the economy, are all drastic changes that we didn’t see coming just six short months ago.

As unemployment rates remain at staggering levels, state and government systems struggle to keep up with the spike in unemployment claims. However, that’s not the only problem they have had to face. Although our lives have done a complete 180, criminals and hackers remain a threat. In fact, the pandemic has given bad actors new opportunities to strike.

In May, the United States Secret Service issued an alert warning states that a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis. The scam used Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from first responders, government employees and school employees to submit fraudulent benefits. The alert goes on to say that every state is vulnerable to this scheme and will likely be targeted if they have not been already.

Michigan, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Washington are just some of the states that have halted unemployment payments due to fraudulent activity. In fact, officials estimate that up to $650 million may have been stolen from Washington’s unemployment insurance system alone. Once the state discovered the suspicious activity, they immediately stopped the flow of funds. While their quick thinking stopped more money from being drained, it unfortunately paused the flow of legitimate funds to individuals who truly needed the assistance.

Interestingly, many state governments use the mainframe as their system of record. While these legacy systems are known for their power, security and stability, additional measures may need to be implemented to protect the mainframe against data breaches and keep their risk of threat low. While companies often cite cybersecurity as a primary mainframe benefit, hackers have become increasingly sophisticated and organizations must be proactive in finding new ways to protect data and applications.

One potential approach is for state governments whose unemployment systems rely on the mainframe to use integration tools to connect to third-party fraud detection services. Many banks and financial services companies are already doing this to protect customers and currency in today’s age of digital banking.

Our mainframe modernization tool, Ivory Suite connects legacy applications to anti-money laundering and fraud detection services, without needing to write new code. Ivory allows your mainframe to both send and receive requests to third party sites with additional efficiency and stability. Plus, you can run Ivory off the mainframe, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of additional MIPs.

Contact us to learn how we can increase the stability and security of your mainframe.

 

-Amanda Bierfeld Williams, Marketing Coordinator at GT Software