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August 3, 2007

IRS Signs Over Fort Knox To Nigerian Scammers

by Brad Warbiany

Okay, well maybe it’s not THAT bad… But it’s close:

IRS employees ignored security rules and turned over sensitive computer information to a caller posing as a technical support person, according to a government study.

Sixty-one of the 102 people who got the test calls, including managers and a contractor, complied with a request that the employee provide his or her user name and temporarily change his or her password to one the caller suggested, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an office that does oversight of Internal Revenue Service.

The caller asked for assistance to correct a computer problem.

The report said that by failing to question the identity of the caller the employees were putting the IRS at risk of providing unauthorized people access to taxpayer data that could be used for identity theft and other fraudulent schemes.

“This is especially disturbing because the IRS has taken many steps to raise employee awareness of the importance of protecting their computers and passwords,” said Inspector General J. Russell George.

Sadly, according to the Inspector General, this appears to have occurred after people were trained.

Granted, that some people failed this test is not a surprise, but over 60%?!

And some people want to trust these morons with our medical records too?

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1 Comment

  1. Brad,

    Eric Selene and I are both security professionals, and a couple of us here are former intel weenies.

    Believe me when I say this: 60% falling for this is actually pretty good.

    Social engineering is, always has been, and always will be the most effective form of systems penetration.

    Comment by Chris — August 3, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

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