Se­cu­rity Breach Leads IRS to Sus­pend $7M Con­tract with Equifax

The Jewish Voice - - BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY - By Re­becca Gold

An over $7 mil­lion con­tract re­cently awarded to Equifax has been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended by the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice af­ter on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 12, the be­lea­guered credit re­port­ing agency's web­site had yet an­other se­cu­rity is­sue.

Equifax said that on Thurs­day one of its web­sites pages was shut down af­ter a third-party ven­dor was dis­cov­ered run­ning ma­li­cious code on the page. This comes af­ter a ma­jor se­cu­rity breach ear­lier this year. Last month Equifax dis­closed that its sys­tems were breached by cy­ber crim­i­nals be­tween midMay and late July, who ob­tained sen­si­tive data on 145.5 mil­lion peo­ple.

On Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 13, a spokesper­son for Equifax said, “The IRS no­ti­fied us that they have is­sued a stop-work or­der un­der our Trans­ac­tion Sup­port for Iden­tity Man­age­ment con­tract.”

The spokesper­son con­tin­ued, “We re­main con­fi­dent that we are the best party to per­form the ser­vices re­quired in this con­tract. We are en­gag­ing IRS of­fi­cials to re­view the facts and clar­ify avail­able op­tions.”

Since the se­cu­rity is­sues at Equifax were re­vealed, the IRS is the first or­ga­ni­za­tion to an­nounce pub­licly that it is sus­pend­ing a con­tract with the credit re­port­ing agency.

Luck­ily, the in­ci­dent that oc­curred on Thurs­day, did not com­pro­mise the sys­tems of the At­lanta-based Eqi­u­fax. The in­ci­dent did in­volve fake pop-up win­dows on the agency's web page that try to trick vis­i­tors into in­stalling soft­ware that au­to­mat­i­cally dis­plays ad­ver­tis­ing ma­te­rial.

De­spite this, the IRS did still de­cide to tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend a short-term con­tract for it has with Equifax for iden­tity-proof­ing ser­vices. In a state­ment, the agency said, “Dur­ing this sus­pen­sion, the IRS will con­tinue its re­view of Equifax sys­tems and se­cu­rity.” They added that noth­ing has arisen to in­di­cate that any of the IRS data that was shared with Equifax un­der this con­tract had been com­pro­mised.

For­tune re­ports, “The move means that the IRS will tem­po­rar­ily be un­able to cre­ate new ac­counts for tax­pay­ers us­ing its Se­cure Ac­cess por­tal, which sup­ports ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing on­line ac­counts and tran­scripts. Users who al­ready had Se­cure Ac­cess ac­counts will not be af­fected, the IRS said. IRS granted the $7.25 mil­lion con­tract to Equifax on Sept. 29, weeks af­ter Equifax dis­closed the mas­sive data hack that drew scathing crit­i­cism from sev­eral law­mak­ers.”

If you want to know how any of these breaches could af­fect you and the best ways to pro­tect your­self and your sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion, the Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion pub­lished an ar­ti­cle last month on their Con­sumer In­for­ma­tion page giv­ing con­sumers in­sight into all of this.

It states, “If you have a credit re­port, there's a good chance that you're one of the 143 mil­lion Amer­i­can con­sumers whose sen­si­tive per­sonal in­for­ma­tion was ex­posed in a data breach at Equifax, one of the na­tion's three ma­jor credit re­port­ing agen­cies.

Here are the facts, ac­cord­ing to Equifax. The breach lasted from mid-May through July. The hack­ers ac­cessed peo­ple's names, So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers, birth dates, ad­dresses and, in some in­stances, driver's li­cense num­bers. They also stole credit card num­bers for about 209,000 peo­ple and dis­pute doc­u­ments with per­sonal iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion for about 182,000 peo­ple. And they grabbed per­sonal in­for­ma­tion of peo­ple in the UK and Canada too.”

To read the rest of this in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cle visit: https://www.con­sumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/ equifax-data-breach-what-do

You can also try to call the three credit rat­ing bu­reaus di­rectly, although it is un­likely that you will ob­tain an ac­tual hu­man to talk to. The phone num­bers for these bu­reaus that store vi­tal in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing your credit are: Equifax 800349-9960, Ex­pe­rian 888-3973742, Tran­sunion 888-909-8872

Last month Equifax dis­closed that its sys­tems were breached by cy­ber crim­i­nals be­tween mid-May and late July, who ob­tained sen­si­tive data.

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