In what is another embarrassing blow to the government authorities, there has been an attack on the IRS database resulting in the leaking of the details of more than 700,000 taxpayers from the United Stated of America. The governments world over have been left red faced time and again due to their inability to protect their data from such incidents of hacking. The incidents have become too frequent in the United States and this time the IRS has faced the heat of the cyber attacks on its database.
The information which was leaked consisted confidential information of these tax payers. It included their date of birth, social security number and other details which can be misused by the hackers. The hackers can even use these details to file for tax refund by impersonating the tax payers and get the refunds credited to their accounts.
The hacking mechanism used obtaining information about the tax payers from other sources and using this information to gain the access to the accounts of the tax payers by verifying their identification. It used the Get Transcription application hosted on the website of the IRS. The application allowed the tax payers to get a detailed line by line information on the tax that they paid. After the hack was detected, IRS discontinued the function.
The actual attacks took place last year but its volume has only recently been gauged. In May last year, IRS estimated that the attack affected only 100,000 tax payers and it discontinued the Get Transcription option. In August 2015, IRS concluded that 339,000 accounts were hacked. However, on 26th February 2016, it was identified by the IRS that accounts of over 700,000 accounts were hacked. The incident took place between January 2014 and May 2015 at which point it was detected.
IRS has planned to send mail notifications to the tax payers whose accounts have shown irregular activities. IRS is one of the major hacking incidents that has happened in the recent years where hackers have targeted the government departments.