Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Oh, Wait, Those E-Tax-Filers Should Be Worried About Security

EEK, does this mean I can claim that my identity was stolen from me by the government?!?

Remember on Friday (tax day) how we noted that those who were e-filing their taxes weren't really worried about their security? Well, it turns out they should have been more worried. Perhaps much more worried. The Government Accountability Office, in an amazing display of bad timing, waited until this week to tell everyone about all the security problems the IRS's computer system has. Apparently, a big chunk of those security holes were pointed out three years ago, but the IRS hasn't bothered to fix them. In addition. the GAO found plenty of new security holes as well. Basically, it sounds like there are little to no access controls in the system. That is, if someone has any internal access to the system at all, they can easily look up and modify both tax returns and financial crimes reports. To make things even more fun, the master list of usernames and passwords is "widely available." Makes you feel safe, right?

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