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article imageIRS computer breach impacts even more taxpayers

By Tom Pritchard     Aug 18, 2015 in Technology
The IRS reported Monday that another 220,000 taxpayers were victims of the data theft that occurred in May of 2015. This latest report brings the number of taxpayers affected by the intrusion to 334,000 people.
The IRS has not confirmed how the culprits were able to get into its servers. All the IRS is certain of is that the attacker penetrated the “Get Transcript” service offered by the IRS to steal addresses, Social Security numbers, birthdates and tax information.
The agency first reported the attack in May. At the time, it reported that only 104,000 people were at risk because of the security breach. Monday’s revelation suggests that nearly three times more people lost their data than previously though.
The IRS sent letters to all of the affected taxpayers to warn them about the possibility of identity theft. The agency also provided them with an extra method of security for future use.
“Get Transcript” was a helpful tool for many Americans. The tool allowed people to keep track of old documents and download them when they needed them. It was used 23 million times during the 2015 tax season alone.
This tool should have been secure. It required a wealth of personal information for owners to access their information. Unfortunately, much of that personal information is already available to hackers who have either stolen or purchased the information.
So far, 15,000 bogus tax refunds have been claimed.
Although it resulted in theft, this attack is not technically a hack or a security breach. The perpetrators used the correct information to open up taxpayers accounts’ and download their documents.
The PIN provided by the IRS is currently a part of a pilot program in three states. The IRS then extended the program to the 330,000 people whose information was breached. The agency plans to roll out this extra layer of protection across the country.
Without a security breach, it will be more difficult for criminal investigators to establish what happened. The tool is now shut down; however, the IRS does not yet have a solution for keeping Americans’ private data safe.
More about Irs, computer breach, Hack, Personal data
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