On Tuesday 26th May, the IRS (Inland Revenue service) admitted that it had been the target of a breach compromising 100,000 tax payers in America.
The service has now temporarily been shut down, however, the breach took place between February and May 2015. The IRS has stated that the attackers have gained full access to tax return transcripts of the 100,000 victims. This information could include names, social security numbers, street names and income information.
This appears to be a two-pronged planned attack as the hackers already possessed information about their targets before the breach. The IRS states that the attackers used a collection of detailed personal information from another ‘non-IRS’ source in order to breach a multi-step authentication process.
In addition to stopping the online service, the IRS has also sent a letter to approximately 200,000 tax payers whose accounts have had attempted unauthorised access. It is also offering free credit monitoring for the victims in order to ensure that the information isn’t being used through other financial avenues.
The statement continued to say: “The IRS emphasizes this incident involves one application involving transcripts — it does not involve other IRS systems, such as our core taxpayer accounts or other applications, such as Where’s My Refund. The IRS will be working aggressively to protect affected taxpayers and strengthen our protocols even further going forward.”