This will make you even more excited to do your taxes this year. Last summer, the IRS estimated that a cyber attack allowed hackers to gain access to 334,000 accounts. Now the agency believes that the hackers actually got into 700,000 accounts, making the breach worse than everybody thought it was.
USA Today reports that the hackers also tried to gain access to 500,000 additional accounts, but were unsuccessful. For the other 700,000 though, they obtained social security numbers, birth dates and other information that could result in using identity theft to get a refund, and probably for other nefarious purposes.
The hackers were able to do this by getting personal information by taxpayers from other sources and then using said information to answer identity verification questions for the IRS’s now disabled Get Transcript feature. Before this feature was shut down, people could get copies of tax returns or tax account transaction information here.
Wired reports that the IRS will start mailing notices to people whose accounts have been compromised starting February 29. They will offer Equifax identify theft protection for one year, and IRS officials will comb their tax returns more carefully than others in the future.
Look at this storyline from Mr. Robot coming true. Good luck out there, everybody.