Menu
IRS kills electronic filing PIN feature due to repeated attacks

IRS kills electronic filing PIN feature due to repeated attacks

The agency tried to protect the Web application after a data breach earlier this year, but attacks continued

After repeated attacks, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has decided to retire a Web-based tool for obtaining PINs that taxpayers could use to file tax returns electronically.

The Electronic Filing (E-file) PINs Web application is no longer available on the IRS website "because of questionable activity," the agency announced last week.

In February, the IRS disclosed that hackers used stolen taxpayer information like names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and full addresses in order to obtain E-file PINs through its website.

Attackers attempted to get E-file PINs corresponding to 464,000 unique SSNs using an automated bot, but the bot was blocked after succeeded in getting 101,000 of the PINs.

After that incident the IRS put additional defenses in place, yet the automated attacks continued with increased frequency. Only a small number of additional E-file PINs were affected, but for safety reasons the agency has decided to retire the tool.

This might cause some issues, because links to this Web application are embedded in most commercial tax software products. Taxpayers can still file tax returns electronically though without a PIN, by using their prior-year adjusted gross income from copies of their prior year tax returns.

Those who no longer have this information, can obtain a copy of their tax return through the separate Get Transcript application on the IRS website. It's worth noting that the Get Transcript application too suffered a data breach in the past, attackers walking away with Social Security numbers, dates of birth and street addresses for over 300,000 taxpayers from its database.

"The IRS continues to work with the tax software community to make this change as smooth as possible for affected taxpayers," the agency said.

Given the huge amount of personal data that was stolen over the past year by hackers from multiple health insurers and government organizations, it's likely that attackers will try to profit it from it, including through fraudulent tax returns.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Slideshows

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Ingram Micro completed its nationwide roadshow in Auckland last month, kicking off its Innovation Hour series with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Uncovering the latest in storage, networking and servers, the event outlined key market trends for resellers in 2016 and beyond.

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference

IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference

FireEye welcomed 143 channel partners and distributors to FireEye's 2016 annual Partner Conference, FireEye A/NZ Momentum - held at Establishment in Sydney. Delegates heard from senior trans-Tasman channel leaders, marketing and the product divisions in the morning, with FireEye customers, incident responders and threat intelligence analysts sharing knowledge during the afternoon.

IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference
​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​

​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​

With New Zealand businesses now open to innovation, the industry sits on the cusp of significant disruption in the data centre. Driven by software-defined networking, the future of the data centre is fast becoming reality, as the channel seeks to keep up, keep innovating and keep growing. APC by Schneider Electric, Lenovo and key partners outlined how the channel can capitalise at The Grill restaurant in Auckland.

​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​
Show Comments