SBA website leaks personal data of 8,000 small-business loan applicants

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The U.S. Small Business Administration notified 8,000 small-business owners on Tuesday about a software bug that may have exposed their personal information online.

The glitch affected the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) portal, which is used by small-business owners seeking financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic. The SBA said on its website that EIDL applicants who are “currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue” can receive up to $10,000 in financial aid.

An SBA spokesperson said it discovered the bug on March 25 and has since fixed the error.

“Personal identifiable information of a limited number of Economic Injury Disaster Loan applicants was potentially exposed to other applicants on SBA’s loan application site,” the spokesperson said. “We immediately disabled the impacted portion of the website, addressed the issue, and relaunched the application portal.”

Affected applicants will receive a year of free credit monitoring. 

Some of the information that was leaked included Social Security numbers, tax identification numbers, household size, and phone numbers, according to an SBA letter sent to applicants, CNBC reported.

The software glitch affected only the EIDL portal and not the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portal.

However, the PPP portal experienced its own problems earlier this month when thousands of small-business owners flooded the site to apply for financial aid as part of the program’s now-depleted pool of nearly $350 billion in loans. Although the PPP portal went offline for several hours, presumably because of the large number of people applying for aid, an SBA official told Bloomberg News at the time that “it’s not accurate that the system crashed.” 

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