Should you be afraid for your virtual tax files?

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  • 3 years ago
  • Posted: February 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Hackers can now gain access to your tax information. In the hacking world; that’s a touchdown and any hacking team that’s able to come up with such a technique, pose a threat of possible tax breach.

Recently, hackers were able to access taxpayer identification numbers before the Internal Revenue (IRS) Service detected the attack and shut it down. The Electronic Filing PINs, meant to ensure information is safe.

Nowadays, tax returns are filed online and the risks involved are rising since the internet space is not perfect. In Kenya, iTax is praised by many people because of the reliability and convenience it brought to Kenyans, but how secured is it?

The recent attack involved specialized software that used more than 450,000 stolen Social Security numbers to try to generate e-filing PINs. Attempts involving about 100,000 of those SSNs were successful, the IRS said in a statement.

“The IRS recently identified and halted an automated attack upon its Electronic Filing PIN application on IRS.gov. Using personal data stolen elsewhere outside the IRS, identity thieves used malware in an attempt to generate E-file PINs for stolen social security numbers. An E-file pin is used in some instances to electronically file a tax return.

No personal taxpayer data was compromised or disclosed by IRS systems. The IRS also is taking immediate steps to notify affected taxpayers by mail that their personal information was used in an attempt to access the IRS application.  The IRS is also protecting their accounts by marking them to protect against tax-related identity theft.” IRS wrote.

Tax returns and tax related documents contain people’s private information like income, birth date, home address, family details and SSN written right on them. Such information can be used not just to steal your money, but also to break into other systems, like your bank, credit card or social-networking accounts.

“IRS cybersecurity experts are currently assessing the situation, and the IRS is working closely with other agencies and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS also is sharing information with its Security Summit state and industry partners. Based on our review, we identified unauthorized attempts involving approximately 464,000 unique SSNs, of which 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.” IRS added.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Erick Vateta
Tech Editor at Kachwanya.com
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Erick Vateta is a lawyer by training, poet, script and creative writer by talent, a model, and tech enthusiast. He covers International tech trends, data security and cyber attacks.
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