Senate Panel Pushes IRS to Fix Cybersecurity Problems

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing Tuesday to examine the Internal Revenue Service’s recent failures to protect taxpayer information from cybercriminals.

The hearing probed the IRS’s efforts to protect private taxpayer information this tax season to determine what improvements may be needed to better safeguard taxpayers from cybercriminals.

In his opening statement, Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, pointed out that his committee urged the IRS, state revenue commissioners, and leaders in the tax preparation industry to come together last year to convene a Security Summit. That effort led to new information-sharing agreements to help identify suspicious activity in the tax filing and refund process. 

“But in the face of this progress, we have also seen unprecedented growth in the scope and scale of cyber-attacks aimed at stealing personal information and billions of dollars from taxpayers,” said Hatch. “Last year alone, cyber-criminals obtained access to sensitive personal information from several large health insurers, exposing tens of millions of Americans to potential identity theft. Foreign governments gained access to poorly protected federal government databases, including a treasure trove of information at the Office of Personnel Management.”

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