IRS: Data security breach that compromised taxpayers’ info wasn’t ‘hack,’ but came from Russia

IRS: Data security breach that compromised taxpayers’ info wasn’t ‘hack,’ but came from Russia

[Ed. – This updates the “hack” previously reported in this space on the 26th.  And apparently it wasn’t a true hack, which in some ways is worse than if it were.  Emphasis added.]

The Internal Revenue Service believes that a major cyber breach that allowed criminals to steal the tax returns of more than 100,000 people originated in Russia, Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam confirmed to CNN on Thursday.

Roskam, chairman of a House subcommittee with IRS oversight, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told him about the theft’s Russian provenance in a phone call. …

The IRS announced Tuesday that organized crime syndicates used personal data obtained elsewhere to access tax information, which they then used to file $50 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

Roskam said the breach is concerning because the IRS system wasn’t hacked. Using personal data, he said, the thieves “went in the front door of the IRS and unlocked it with the key.” [In other words, the thieves had some means of getting the “key,” without having to cyber-hack.  That suggests an inside source. – Ed.]

Roskam and Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan sent a letter to Koskinen on Thursday asking him to explain how the breach occurred.

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