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Attacks/Breaches

5/26/2015
04:55 PM
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IRS Breach Exposes 100,000 Taxpayers' Tax Returns, Other Data

Online 'Get Transcript' service accessed from February to mid-May.

Tax returns of more than 100,000 U.S. taxpayers have been exposed in a breach of the Internal Revenue Service's online "Get Transcript" service, the IRS reported today. Tax returns include a variety of sensitive information on individuals, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, spouses' identity information, and employment data.

The agency told the Associated Press that attackers made about 200,000 attempts to access records through the service, "with more than 100,000 of those attempts successfully clearing authentication hurdles." Successful authentication required a variety of knowledge about a taxpayer including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status, and street address, according to the agency.

The agency says the system was accessed between February and mid-May. They have not yet provided any attribution.

For more information, see the Associated Press story here. DarkReading will follow up with more details as they become available.

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Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
5/26/2015 | 6:42:40 PM
tax rebate for IRS hacking
The IRS should be required to excuse affected individuals from taxes for a year as compensation and an incentive to tighten security.
macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 7:27:21 AM
symmetric keys
this whole dust-up is the consequence of using symmetric keys such as name, address, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Mother's Maiden Name and other information this is publcly available

an identification must be such that it can be recognized in public but cannot be produced except by the owner.  the old fashioned pen & ink signature was better at that than most of what is being done on computer these days: my signature can be recognized in public -- but -- no one signs it quite like I do .   on critical documents witnesses or notaries are used

but this doesn't work in digital


that is why public key cryptography was developed.   the keys are asymmetric : two parts : public and private

the public part is used to authenticate or recognize a signature while the private part -- which is not displayed in public is retained privately by the owner and used when needed  to make recognizable digital signatures

this technology needs to be packaged so it is easy for eveyone to use.

one thing further: public keys require witness or notaries to authenticate them and this service should be provided by local credit unions and such.    they need this for their online banking anyway -- so -- may as well get to it .

if we continue to do things as we have hacking will continue and will continue to get worse.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 11:15:00 AM
Get Transcript
 

Based on the news I was listening this morning this service is disabled now in IRS site. IRS does not call this hacking. :--))
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 11:16:52 AM
Re: tax rebate for IRS hacking
That would not be enough in my view. They need to be facing consequences as they were not able to protect most important information for most people in their systems.

 
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 11:20:02 AM
Re: symmetric keys
That is true and the information that is supposed to protect tax information is not complex enough to find out. As you mentioned why would anybody think that SSN and DOB is good information to use for security point of view.
Dr.T
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Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
5/27/2015 | 11:22:37 AM
Remember Googles recent research
 

A few days back Google releases their research results and they found out that security questions are not really protecting us from threats. IRS and may other business should be paying attention to those findings.
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