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InsiderOnline Blog: March 2012

The Internal Revenue Service Has the Wrong Priorities

The agency that has time to harass independent tax preparers can’t be bothered to secure its data, says the Government Accountability Office. PC World Reports (March 18):

The Internal Revenue Service isn’t doing such a great job of protecting its key financial and tax-processing systems, according to the government’s watchdog agency, the GAO.

“Specifically, the [IRS] continues to face challenges in controlling access to its information resources,” states the Government Accountability Office in its report published Friday. “For example, it had not always (1) implemented controls for identifying and authenticating users, such as requiring users to set new passwords after a prescribed period of time; (2) appropriately restricted access to certain servers; (3) ensured that sensitive data were encrypted when transmitted; (4) audited and monitored systems to ensure that unauthorized activities would be detected; or (5) ensured management validation of access to restricted areas.”

The GAO also notes its audit found the IRS did not always “promptly correct known vulnerabilities” in its systems, saying that “76 out of 105 previously reported weaknesses open at the end of the GAO’s prior year audit had not yet been corrected.”

Taken collectively, these failings “impair IRS’s ability to ensure that its financial and taxpayer information is secure from internal threats,” or that it’s being “safeguarded from unauthorized disclosure or modification.”

Posted on 03/19/12 04:58 PM by Alex Adrianson

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