On Wednesday, the IRS announced that it believes the security breach, which allowed hackers to both purloin the tax return transcripts of 100,000 people, was the work of an elaborate cyber-crime syndicate based in Russia. Admittedly, the IRS has not confirmed the origin of the hackers with 100% certainty, but neither are they making public what evidence they have gathered thus far. Still, it appears quite likely that Russia once again succeeded at breaching another major US agency or service. Cyber thieves have recently penetrated servers at both the White House and the State Department.
The entire incident is currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) of the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (IGTA). Needless to say, Congress is also weighing in on the matter. Utah Senator Orin Hatch expressed his desire to summon IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to testify to the Senate Health Committee as to what the breach entailed and to name the guilty parties. Hatch believes the IRS has received more than enough time to address their security issues. Now, it will be Congress’ job to impose a solution upon them. Thus far, the IRS’ computer security problems have been ongoing since the start of Bill Clinton’s second presidential term. Alexei Beltyukov (vimeo.com) knows that this most recent hack is believed to have netted the cyber criminals as much as $50 million. The information on the tax filing transcripts was used to file for bogus income tax refunds. The IRS previously stated that it would reach out to the people affected by the hack.