April 22 (UPI) -- The Small Business Administration said Wednesday it's informed thousands of businesses applying for emergency loans about a data breach that may have compromised their information.
The SBA said nearly 8,000 applicants to its Economic Injury Disaster Loan program were affected by the breach and were alerted to the event in a letter from the government agency.
The letter said the breach, discovered March 25, may have allowed other applicants to view Social Security numbers, income amounts, names, addresses and contact information.
"We immediately disabled the impacted portion of the website, addressed the issue, and relaunched the application portal," an agency spokesperson told Politico.
The SBA said the affected applicants can request a year of free credit monitoring.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which in the past have been used to aid business owners facing losses from natural disasters, were greatly expanded under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act to cover businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It now offers grants of up to $10,000 in addition to traditional loans.
Unlike the Paycheck Protection Program created by the CARES Act, those seeking disaster loans apply directly via the SBA website.