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IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected

CmdrTaco posted about 8 years ago | from the paying-for-the-privilege dept.

152

LogError writes "Two weeks ago, Department of Treasury received a D-minus grade in the Federal Computer Security Report Card for 2005, down from a D-plus grade in 2004. The majority of Treasury systems are those belonging to IRS. The government-wide computer-security grade for 2005 was D-plus, while Homeland Security and Defense both received an F. Grades are based on reports submitted to Congress by the agencies; the reports are required under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002.8 The scores are meant to reflect whether departments meet federally mandated security standards."

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152 comments

See! (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | about 8 years ago | (#15087783)

This is why I refuse to pay income taxes!

Careful... (5, Funny)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | about 8 years ago | (#15087820)

This is why I refuse to pay income taxes!

Careful, they got a D- in protecting data, but they have an A doubleplus in 'tracking your ass down and throwing you in jail'. ask Al Capone.

Re:Careful... (4, Insightful)

VJ42 (860241) | about 8 years ago | (#15087895)

they have an A doubleplus in 'tracking your ass down and throwing you in jail'.

It's for this reason that I've never understood why governments don't set the tax services (I don't live in the USA; We call the equivilent of the IRS the Inland revenue, there's no service about it on this side of the Atlantic.) onto "Teh Terrorists!!!" They are the only branch of the state that can track anyone down quickely and eaisly; surley they should be put in chrge of what you call "homeland security". ;)

Re:Careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088032)

> They are the only branch of the state that can track anyone down quickely and eaisly; surley they should be put in chrge of what you call "homeland security". ;)

What makes you think US Homeland Security is trying to track terrorists?

Evidence all argues against it.

Probably Homeland Security is a bunch of fat rich white guys who bribed Shrubbie and friends and are busy pocketing "sole source" theft contracts, just like every other endeavor the Shrubbie ever ran into bankruptcy...

Re:Careful... (1)

LilGuy (150110) | about 8 years ago | (#15088091)

Homeland security is much more concerned with conducting surveillance on American citizens and watching what WE do than what any supposed terrorists are doing. How else do you explain their high-tech mobile surveillance systems? But they're not alone... no no, the NSA has a pretty heafty interest in us as well as we've seen from previous stories reported today. Why you ask? Well.. possibly because they want to make sure we're this supposed cohesive nation... we have to make sure we're all patriotic so when the next terrorist attack occurs... uh... well we're just more patriotic. And by patriotic that means we willingly surrender our rights for the good of the nation... however that works.

This government can go to hell for all I care. 9/11 was the biggest shame a country could possible commit on itself and now it's a mad dash to make sure all forms of communication about all the deception cannot spread enough to come back to haunt those involved. Just wait for the next attack. I'm betting its a nuclear bomb and it will be blamed on Iran. We've had a vendetta against Iran since the 1950s and boy would their oil rake in some extra dough...

I can't place the blame soley upon this administration though. For things to have come this far it had to have taken years and years of planning and implementation. It's a shame we've got such spineless bastards in 'power'. For anyone who doesn't think money corrupts... get ready to take your pen out and jot down some notes coz hell is gonna break loose in your lifetime. Bet on it.

Re:Careful... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 8 years ago | (#15088464)

Homeland security is much more concerned with conducting surveillance on American citizens and watching what WE do than what any supposed terrorists are doing.

I disagree. I think Homeland Security is more concerned with looking busy and giving the appearance of security than actually improving security. You are correct, however, that the problem with our government is not Bush and Friends, it is systemic all the way to the post-WW2 politicians who got the Arabs pissed at us in the first place. This is true especially of the 1970s, although OPEC is partly to blame. Who wouldn't want to hate them?

BTW, am I the only one who finds it odd that the Department of Defense attacks other countries (e.g. Iraq) while the Department of Homeland Security defends our country?

Re:Careful... (2, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | about 8 years ago | (#15088186)

They are the only branch of the state that can track anyone down quickely and eaisly; surley they should be put in chrge of what you call "homeland security". ;)

I know you're joking and all, but I still feel like pointing out for those who modded you Insightful why this isn't so simple.

American taxpayers sign up each year and tell the government whether they're obeying the law or not by filing (or not filing) their tax returns. Terrorists don't register with the government to say that they're terrorists. The government has a much easier time knowing whether your a tax evader than a terrorist because it's all on record.

After that, it's a simple matter or when and where you next use your SSN or other government ID to nail you down. Alternately, it's a matter of when you get caught using fake ID to evade the government to nail you down. Once you've ID'ed a tax evader, tracking them down isn't hard because evading the government once it actually wants you is much, much harder than you might think unless you completely cut yourself off from society.

Re:Careful... (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15088225)

I've never understood why governments don't set the tax services (I don't live in the USA; We call the equivilent of the IRS the Inland revenue, there's no service about it on this side of the Atlantic.) onto "Teh Terrorists!!!"

Well, assuming that terrorists actually file taxes and don't lie about their income, it would be illegal to use that info in criminal prosecution, as that would violate the 5th ammendment. Despite whatever the Chimp in Chief thinks, the constitution applies to everyone in the country, even the terrorists.

Re:Careful... (1)

flink (18449) | about 8 years ago | (#15088428)

Well, assuming that terrorists actually file taxes and don't lie about their income, it would be illegal to use that info in criminal prosecution, as that would violate the 5th ammendment.

The 5th amendment protects you from being compelled to testify against yourself in a court. If you volunteer the information, you're out of luck.

Re:Careful... (4, Interesting)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15088452)

The 5th amendment protects you from being compelled to testify against yourself in a court. If you volunteer the information, you're out of luck.

You are compelled to list your income and occupation on the tax forms. Therefore, the IRS cannot share that info with the FBI or local cops. If you're a hooker and you declare that you made $150,000 last year and give uncle sam his cut, they won't do a damn thing to you. They won't (can't) tip off vice, because it's illegal.

Re:Careful... (4, Informative)

Elemenope (905108) | about 8 years ago | (#15088465)

The SC has ruled (on more than one occasion) that a person cannot lawfully evade filling out an accurate Tax statement, ergo it is compelled and not volunteered, ergo it is not admissable against you in criminal proceedings not involving tax evasion.

Re:Careful... (1)

rthille (8526) | about 8 years ago | (#15088226)

The trouble is, the terrorists have their incomes outside the states, and are just spending money here. Therefore, they don't owe any taxes and the IRS has no reason to track them down.

Surprised? Not really. (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15087784)

IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected

This story acts as we should be surprised. The government serves the people. The IRS, on the other hand, serves the government. I let you figure out where the disconnect is.

Re:Surprised? Not really. (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about 8 years ago | (#15087900)

> > IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected
>
>This story acts as we should be surprised. The government serves the people. The IRS, on the other hand, serves the government. I let you figure out where the disconnect is.

Remember, remember, the Fifteenth of April,
Congress, Corruption, and Rot,
I see no reason, why taxpaying season,
Should ever be forgot.

"The IRS should not be afraid of the people. The people should be afraid of the IRS."
-A for AMT.

Re:Surprised? Not really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088383)

"The government serves the people"?

I'm assuming that, rather than referring to the total aggregate citizenry, "the people" refers to something like "the rich". So the chain of command is: rich -> government -> IRS -> people. In a traditional political context: nobility -> monarchy -> standing military -> peasantry.

The disconnect is right after "surprised" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15088449)

Where you start spreading the myth about governments serving its people. Ain't been that way for quite some time now.

IRS Hacking (2, Funny)

jimbolauski (882977) | about 8 years ago | (#15087795)

Who in their right mind would hack into the IRS sure it would be nice to add a zero to my return but you don't f*** with the IRS.

Re:IRS Hacking (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15087818)

you don't f*** with the IRS.

That's why potential hackers wouldn't. They'd want to leave things nice and tidy, just the way they found them.

Who in their right mind would hack into the IRS

Someone looking for information on Bill Gates' bank accounts, or perhaps information useful in blackmailing someone. Financial information is very sensitive stuff. The IRS gets more than their share during normal filings. Just imagine how much info they collect during an audit!

Re:IRS Hacking (3, Funny)

Alias777 (841435) | about 8 years ago | (#15087915)

This is the Internet. You can say "fuck" here.

Re:IRS Hacking (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | about 8 years ago | (#15087987)

But can you say "shit"? Oh, I guess you can.

Ob South Park Quote... (1)

vwjeff (709903) | about 8 years ago | (#15088190)

Randy: That word's kind of getting old. It's not really funny anymore.
Man: Yeah, they're gonna have to come up with a new swear word now.
Mr. Garrison: Well, they can't use "fag." Because you can't say "fag" unless you're a homosexual.
Randy: Really? So we can't say (bleep)?
Mr. Garrison: No. See, you got beeped.
Man: You mean you have to be a (bleep) to say (bleep)?
Mr. Garrison: That's right.
Jimbo: Hell, that's not fair! I should be able to say "fag."
Randy: Hey, you didn't get beeped.
Jimbo: Uh, oh.
Mr. Garrison: Well well well! Guess we learned something new about you, Jimbo, you freakin' fag! You wanna make out or something?

Re:IRS Hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088518)

I believe some guy named 'Trinity' did it once....

A literalist hacker helps you today! (2, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | about 8 years ago | (#15088545)

...it would be nice to add a zero to my return...

I decided to help you out there. Here you go.
Instead of getting a return of $237.13, you will now receive $237.130.

Have a nice day!

Re:A literalist hacker helps you today! (1)

HermanAB (661181) | about 8 years ago | (#15088600)

No, you misunderstood - I fixed your error: Instead of receiving a refund of $237.13, he will now receive $0.00.

Security, the Gold Standard (4, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 years ago | (#15087800)

Cost of providing security against non-existent WMDs that couldn't reach the US even if they existed ... $100 Billion

Cost of providing security against al-Qaeda attacking US from Iraq, even though they weren't there ... $400 Billion

Cost of providing security against really obvious IRS forms that let people steal your money and assets easily ... $0.0005 Billion (of $500 million)

Realizing you've been taken to the cleaners due to your own gullibility ... Priceless!

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (5, Funny)

Xiroth (917768) | about 8 years ago | (#15087823)

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's the American taxpayer.

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (1)

Mr. Capris (839522) | about 8 years ago | (#15088096)

I feel obligated to point you towards this [priceless.com], a contest hosted by mastercard in which you make your own mastercard-esque ad.

I truly feel that you guys are on to something, and i might just have to start watching ads to see if yours makes it.

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (1)

Josh teh Jenius (940261) | about 8 years ago | (#15088103)

Just a quick FYI to the FBI bot scanning this convo- if the two posts above me got together and ran for office, not only would I vote, I'd also pay my taxes.

It's like I keep telling you wacky feds: *I'm* not the one being irrational here.

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (1)

Evro (18923) | about 8 years ago | (#15088122)

$0.0005 Billion (of $500 million)

500 million is 0.5 billion...

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088165)

Realizing that your math skill make it clear your a 13 year old with no f*cking clue how the world operates.... *unsuprising*

good job for the 1 person that realized that .5Billion is 5Million... You get 3 stars

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088409)

Actually, .5 billion is 500 million. Pot meet kettle.

Re:Security, the Gold Standard (2, Informative)

Millenniumman (924859) | about 8 years ago | (#15088215)

A billion can also be 1000000000000, or 10^12 in the long scale which is used in most non-English speaking countries.

What a surprise (5, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | about 8 years ago | (#15087803)

Here's a question. What does it cost the IRS if taxpayer data is stolen?

Oh yeah. Squat. Why *should* they care? It's no skin off their back.

If our government wanted to make sure this didn't happen, they'd fine the IRS every time there was a security breach. In fact, they'd fine the IRS just for having bad security. And then things would improve.

'Course, in reality, why would they do that? There's no reason our government would want to hurt the IRS in any way.

Really, what should be happening is the people of America suing the IRS for not guarding our information properly. I wonder how *that* lawsuit would go.

Here's the fundamental issue: If you want someone to behave in a certain way, you have to make it worth their while. Right now the IRS has no incentive for keeping our info safe. Want to change that? Change it at the source.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15087931)

Punish the IRS monetarily? You do realize who pays for the IRS, right?

Re:What a surprise (3, Interesting)

TopShelf (92521) | about 8 years ago | (#15087970)

The government fining the IRS? That's a laugh...

That's basically taking a million out of one pocket and putting it in another. What's the point?

Re:What a surprise (1)

Lord Crc (151920) | about 8 years ago | (#15088001)

That's basically taking a million out of one pocket and putting it in another. What's the point?

Well I suppose the IRS has a budget to follow, so it could still hurt the IRS.

Re:What a surprise (2, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | about 8 years ago | (#15088038)

So the IRS's budget would get reduced, leaving them fewer resources to do their job (of which the scope won't change), so the situation gets worse... I don't see that fining the IRS would do any good.

Instead, I'd put the heat on your local Congressman, as well as write to this gang [house.gov], who provides Congressional oversight to the IRS.

Dig up egregious examples of conduct (in the article, it mentions an IRS contractor digging up political info on taxpayers), and write to your local newspaper.

Re:What a surprise (1)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | about 8 years ago | (#15088110)

So the IRS's budget would get reduced, leaving them fewer resources to do their job (of which the scope won't change), so the situation gets worse... I don't see that fining the IRS would do any good.

I would expect both the Dems and our new Neo-con overlords to do exactly the opposite: problem with IRS security? Throw them more money.

Re:What a surprise (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#15088039)

To what end? Will we fine the IRS until they can't collect taxes?

If you want to see the IRS punished, make heads roll when bad things happen. Which means things like:

1. Management can be fired if a huge screwup happens
2. Massive screwups can result in fines against management
3. Charges can be brought against the parties responsible for the screwup

Once their necks are on the line, you can be certain that the top level of IRS management will put pressure on the entire organization to prevent security issues.

That being said, the IRS is likely suffering from the same problem as the rest of the goverment agencies: Too much work, not enough manpower/funding. Putting more pressure on the IRS may only result in making it harder to find IRS employees.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088006)

I work for DHS on contract. Suing won't help anything. Most federal employee's single chore during the day is to ensure they don't take any blame when the shit hits the fan.

So, sue all you want - it'll just leave the agency with a giant hole in it's budget and no money to buy pens and paper clips.

If you really want the problem solved, make lax security a fireable offense. But, good luck. The unions and the liberals have federal jobs so safe, it takes an Act of God to fire a lazy federal employee.

Re:What a surprise (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about 8 years ago | (#15088034)

If our government wanted to make sure this didn't happen, they'd fine the IRS every time there was a security breach. In fact, they'd fine the IRS just for having bad security. And then things would improve.

Why do you think fining the IRS would make a difference? They are not a company, they do not care about profit and loss. Furthermore, the IRS is the government. Fining them would be like punishing your wallet by taking money out and keeping it in your pocket instead.

If you really want to do something to provoke change at the IRS, dock the salary of upper managers and in egregious cases, put them in jail.

Re:What a surprise (1)

peterfa (941523) | about 8 years ago | (#15088040)

Docterine of Soverign Immunity: the King can do no wrong.
You can't sue the government.

Re:What a surprise (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 8 years ago | (#15088526)

You can't sue the government.

Yes, we can. However, there are only specific charges you may make. As an example, Eldred v Ashcroft [wikipedia.org]. Eldred sued the government all the way to the Supreme Court before unfortunately losing.

Re:What a surprise (1)

ehiris (214677) | about 8 years ago | (#15088317)

"If our government wanted to make sure this didn't happen, they'd fine the IRS every time there was a security breach. In fact, they'd fine the IRS just for having bad security. And then things would improve."

No problem, they will just raise the tax to 150% on income from fines given to the IRS. It will be a special tax schedule. :)

Is A Pleasure To Have In Class (4, Funny)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 8 years ago | (#15087817)

Hey, a D- is a passing grade--what's wrong with that?

I mean, wouldn't you much rather have a national government that was more like you, instead of some kind of intellectual-elite government scoring all "A"s? Better to have a government that understands people like you than a government that is out of touch with mainstream American values, I say!

(Break out the hookers and blow! Party at Treasury!)

Hookers and Blow?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15087921)

Hookers and blow?!

Sounds like 1970's W. is back in the house!

Re:Is A Pleasure To Have In Class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088089)

I mean, wouldn't you much rather have a national government that was more like you, instead of some kind of intellectual-elite government scoring all "A"s?

I think you're on to something here.

Your theory certainly explains how President Junior got elected.

I wish it were funny.

I thought they worked around by using 1/2" tape (1)

wsanders (114993) | about 8 years ago | (#15088208)

I thought they worked around all the security issues by just writing all their data on 800 bpi 1/2" tape. Seriously, the only people who have those things anymore are the IRS and the FAA.

The IRS is insecure?!?!? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15087849)

No [nwsource.com] shit [zdnet.com] ? [techlawjournal.com]

IRS is in the middle of a change over anyway (5, Informative)

vtechpilot (468543) | about 8 years ago | (#15087916)

I work for a company that creates electronic filing software for the IRS, and I work with them on a regular basis. While Electronic filing has really only been popular the last few years its history goes back a very long time (in computer years). For example, currently to file a form 1040 electronically, it gets formatted in custom text format, attached to a whole bunch of other forms, gets all sorts of headers and summary information tacked on. It gets gzipped, then pushed through a z-modem connection over a telnet session, inside of an SSL connection. Why? Because it evolved that way. There was a time when electronic filing meant putting magnetic media in the mail. So the file formats go way back and are all fucked up because they are constantly updating the forms in respons to legislation. when they stopped with the magnetic media and started using modems, the whole thing was run like a BBS, so ta-da z-modem. When the bbs system was moved to the internet, it became telnet. Then they said oh shit its on the internet, we need encryption, so they moved that into an SSL connection.

Case in point the whole system is fucked up because its doing things it was never designed to do. So now we introduce Modernized E-File. MEF is basically the IRS rebuilding its entire system from the ground up. File formats are getting moved to XML, the network connections are moving to SOAP, and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Given the amound of stuff thats going on right now I would expect them to be scored poorly because basically the existing system is held together with duct tape while the new system is being built, and the new system probably wasn't considered in the score since its not completly up and running yet.

Re:IRS is in the middle of a change over anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088078)

I never understood why MUDs never turned the login to SSL :(

/end of bad humor

What is wrong with telnet? Just because it isn't "real WWW" doesn't mean it is bad. If it works then why fix it? :) But of cause it doesn't really matter if the database is easily hack-able.

Re:IRS is in the middle of a change over anyway (1)

Lish (95509) | about 8 years ago | (#15088142)

Because it's unsecured, unencrypted, that's why. HTTP with no SSL wouldn't be any better.

Re:IRS is in the middle of a change over anyway (1)

spicyjeff (6305) | about 8 years ago | (#15088391)

Read the original parent post, the telnet session in question is over SSL.

Re:IRS is in the middle of a change over anyway (1)

Lish (95509) | about 8 years ago | (#15088487)

Well, yes, I know that. The poster I was replying to was implying that there was nothing wrong with telnet and why would you move to WWW. My response was meant to convey that going telnet->www wouldn't have done anything, and that it was the SSL that was key. I guess I was not clear.

Let's be fair (2)

truthsearch (249536) | about 8 years ago | (#15087953)

Let's be fair here. Isn't a D-minus really an F? Let's not split hairs, people. If I got a C-minus my scholarship would have been dropped. Can't we drop them from the government for not even grading an average C?

Re:Let's be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15087978)

No you can't because the IRS and all the other failing agencies are now part of Dubya's new gov't plan called "No Agency Left Behind". Seeing how well the original "No Child Left Behind" works in education by producing a nation of functional illiterates.

Homeland Security (1)

bawnpa (966917) | about 8 years ago | (#15087962)

What IRS data have "lawmakers" which are supposed to be people we elect to make decisions for us deemed important to homeland security? My income and work/education related expenditures aren't something I think of when I think of defending the homeland.

zerg (2, Funny)

Lord Omlette (124579) | about 8 years ago | (#15087968)

In 2004, the Department of Commerce got an F.
In 2005, the Department of Commerce got a D+.

Clearly, they must have improved slightly. Why didn't anyone highlight these improvements to show the DOJ, NRC and Treasury that, even if you're completely retarded, you can still make some improvement?

Did any one pass? (2, Funny)

sirnuke (866453) | about 8 years ago | (#15087986)

Did any department pass?

In other news, the department of agriculture passed with flying colors. Though they haven't figured it how to plug in their 486 yet, so it's not entirely a fair fight.

Defense gets an F? (2, Insightful)

Araxen (561411) | about 8 years ago | (#15087996)

It's pretty funny the department that gets the most funding gets a F grade. What a joke!

Meanwhile NASA only gets a drop in the bucket.

Re:Defense gets an F? (4, Insightful)

Doc Scratchnsniff (681952) | about 8 years ago | (#15088047)

You may have cause and effect backwards. These scores appear to be self-reported. The department of Defense has realized that the best way to get more money is to give themselves a bad score.

Re:Defense gets an F? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088051)

That's because the DoD is still processing the paperwork in quadruplicate to purchase computers in the first place.

Re:Defense gets an F? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088066)

Meanwhile NASA only gets a drop in the bucket.

Whoring are we? How many mod points for just a blow job?

How's that a surprise? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15088471)

Take your average company. Now take a manager's PC and a tech's PC. Which one is more likely to be secured? And the owner of which takes home more money?

Effect of scores on budgets (1)

Doc Scratchnsniff (681952) | about 8 years ago | (#15088024)

Will departments use low scores to justify increased budgets for security related projects? According to the article, the scores were reported by the departments themselves. Surely it will be easier for the IT supervisor of a "D-" departments to hire more security specialists than it will be for the IT supervisor of a "B+" department.

I Got a D- In English Yet I am Sucessful (0, Flamebait)

mrs clear plastic (229108) | about 8 years ago | (#15088029)

So they get a D-.

Big deal!

They are a very sucessfull agency. They have been providing the 'bread' for the U.S. Government for years.

Mrs. Thompson of McCall Junior High School in Winchester,
Massachusetts gave me a D- in English during my eighth grade.

Do I let it bother me?

No!

I am just as happy as I could be.

In fact, I knew someone who was a streight A student.
His achievment? The methadone clinic.

As Dr. Norman Paul, or Lexington Massachusetts; my
childhood phychiatrist; told me, don't let the little
things bother you. You can only be your true self to be
happy.

I see the IRS as quite happy right now.

Luv

Cleara

Re:I Got a D- In English Yet I am Sucessful (1)

gandracu (951016) | about 8 years ago | (#15088087)

Wow, you seem really stupid. Which explains why you're happy; it takes brains to be unhappy.

Re:I Got a D- In English Yet I am Sucessful (1)

Yokaze (70883) | about 8 years ago | (#15088151)

You know the difference? You are an individuum and not an organisation.

Re:I Got a D- In English Yet I am Sucessful (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 8 years ago | (#15088529)

You know, it's quite obvious that you got a D- in English. They may be 'successful', but they are now holding the bank account details of MANY Americans, along with all kinds of other interesting data.
I wouldn't want someone who was stupid enough to get a D- in security to be guarding any of MY data, just like I wouldn't want you writing anything that represented me. Your psychiatrist told you how to be happy, but I've seen many idiots smiling all the way up to the end.

Blame Game (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#15088061)

The problem is obviously the report cards. They got a D+ on a report card, which resulted in getting a D- on the next one. If they didn't give report cards, we wouldn't have to read news stories like this, which make us feel so bad. Instead we'd just read news about getting robbed after their ID was stolen from the IRS, making them unable to pay their taxes, and going to jail in place of the IDnappers.

Or maybe the problem is the media, for reporting these stories which tell IDnappers where to look to steal IDs. Instead we should just learn about it privately, when the bank closes our empty account, or the IRS sends goons to arrest us when we're too broke to pay our taxes.

OK, maybe the problem is the IRS. Without the IRS, we wouldn't have our IDs exposed to theft. And who wants to pay taxes? Instead, we could just let the country grow over with weeds and druglord gangs.

All right - the problem is my posts. Too long, too sarcastic, too scary. No, it's your fault for reading them.

Attention Homeland Security (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | about 8 years ago | (#15088075)

You are all fired. It is obvious that bringing in random people that don't even know what they are going can get at least a D-. Heck, sometimes I don't even show up for class and don't bother studying for the test and I can pull a D+.

Just one more reason to enact the FairTax (5, Interesting)

thepuma (721283) | about 8 years ago | (#15088077)

We need to get rid of the IRS altogether and replace it with the FairTax. [fairtax.org]

The FairTax would replace the complex and difficult to understand federal income tax with a fair and simple national sales tax.

Under the FairTax, Americans will take home 100% of their paychecks, allowing them to save more money for education and retirement, as well as make investments that will stimulate our economy. Not only will American workers take home their whole paychecks, each registered household will receive a monthly "prebate" check to refund taxes paid on necessities. This combination of sales tax and monthly prebate makes the FairTax the only tax proposal that completely "untaxes" the poor.

The FairTax is revenue neutral. While the American worker has everything to gain under this new system of taxation, the government will lose nothing in federal funding.

The current system of taxation is beyond repair. Compliance is difficult and expensive, often prohibitively so for aspiring small businesses.

Re:Just one more reason to enact the FairTax (1, Interesting)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | about 8 years ago | (#15088363)

Wow, from your description, this would be a boon to overseas e-commerce and Canadian border busineses. If you get sales tax whored at US businesses, then don't shop in the US. The government will be forced to pound the hell out of anyone who enters the country with goods.

Also, Walmart would rule the world with this one. Their lower prices would now be significantally lower than the mom and pop shops, since the tax overhead is much higher. Also, that would give them much more say in government affiars since they'll be one of the major suppliers of government funding. Oh, and squash free software, since free software now has a direct drain on the economy. Congratulations, you just made the Microsofts and Walmarts of the world that much more powerful.

Terrible, unrealistic idea

Re:Just one more reason to enact the FairTax (1)

tsioc (787745) | about 8 years ago | (#15088440)

keep in mind that the IRS doesn't create the tax laws, they merely handle the paperwork and try to make sure that people follow the laws. If you disagree with the tax laws, blame your representatives. As for the IRS being punished, it happens.

Re:Just one more reason to enact the FairTax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088527)

got through about a quarter of the faq and the apples v. oranges math pissed me off too much. You can't treat income the same way as expenditures. Under this system, income that was invested rather than spent would remain untaxed. So people earning millions would only pax taxes on a percentage of their income while everyone else would pay pretty close to a flat rate. I make a decent amount of money and have a comfortable lifestyle and am able to save some money every year. If I was making ten times as much money as I am now I would not be spending ten times as much. I would have a slightly better lifestyle and be saving lots of money.
Basically the Fairtax has an incredibly disproportionate effect once you get into the very high income brackets. No thanks.

Do it like Japanese, publish it. (2, Interesting)

QuessFan (621029) | about 8 years ago | (#15088082)

Personally, I think Japan has the better system of publish list of top 100 tax payer, how much they earn and how much they pay in tax, etc.

The privacy of tax return had allowed too many tax loopholes and evasions to go un-notices. If tax returns are public, the transparancy and public outrage would ensure loopholes are plug and tax system remains fair.

In the U.S. the finanacial accounting and tax accounting had been allowed to drifted away from each other. If public investors are allowed to see the tax returns of their holdings, they can get much better sense of a corpration's performance. A lot of recent corporate scandals would had been discovered sooner or prevented all together.

Re:Do it like Japanese, publish it. (1)

Gunny101 (894783) | about 8 years ago | (#15088223)

I completely disagree. Corporates already publish their financials. What we are worried about is PERSONAL information. Nobody has any business knowing how much I make, and doing so is a risk to my person (Why not rob the guy next door, as he makes 2 million a year).

Re:Do it like Japanese, publish it. (1)

QuessFan (621029) | about 8 years ago | (#15088390)

If people are able to uncover those around them who have 'life syste inconsistent with reported income,' then tax evasion will become much less common.

As for safety concern. I can only go by my own experience. As a government employee, my salary, property holding, etc. are already disclosed as public record. Since I work with the judicial branch, I personally know many rich judges.(Usually sucessful lawyers before they went on the bench) Donald Trump's older sister, MarryAnne Trump Barry, was worth 85 millions last time I checked. And she is not even the richest federal judge. And unless they are Supreme Court justice or involves in high profile case they don't receive enhanced police protection either. I haven't heard about enhanced level of property crime againist higher earning/networth government employees, have you? If that's the risk factor, I am feeling much safer right now.

Legitimacy of the tests (2, Interesting)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 8 years ago | (#15088085)

Has it occured to anyone that perhaps DHS and the DoD get failing grades because they take different, more effective approaches to security than what's handed down by a beauracracy?

Re:Legitimacy of the tests (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15088211)

Has it occured to anyone that perhaps DHS and the DoD get failing grades because they take different, more effective approaches to security than what's handed down by a beauracracy?
You sound like those parents who say "my child is failing because you don't know how to grade their work."

At which point everyone looks at the parents and goes "Huh?"

In an attempt to justify their statement, the parents explain how their child has a learning disability and while the kid can't spell, their grammar is excellent.

If you want to put failures in special ed, that's fine. Just don't give them sensitive responsibilites, like protecting the country or dealing with my tax information.

Anyways, TFA is about the IRS & Dept. of Treasury, not the DHS or DoD. I'm only saying this because the comment is relevant either way.

Re:Legitimacy of the tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088599)

Yes. Much like they have taken more effective approaches to dealing with natural disasters and wars. Both the Katrina and Iraq marvels owe their success to top leadership telling the lower downs in the beareaucracy to keep their "ideas" and "plans" to themselves and let the action take place. Rock on DOD-DHS, you are the true rebels of the government!

Either it's mandatory or it's optional. (1)

jd (1658) | about 8 years ago | (#15088213)

If it's mandatory, then if a department's staff fail, they should be let go. Mandatory means "this is what you need to do". Mandatory isn't a choice. If it's the fault of IT staffers, sack the staffers. If it's the fault of management, sack the management. Do what it takes to meet mandatory requirements and cut out the dead wood.


That's if it's mandatory. If it's optional, then they don't need to meet the standards and all is well with the world. But if it IS optional, then the Government should state so and not claim that they're mandatory. Optional is a choice, no matter what CYA the lawyers want to put onto it.

IRS E-File insecurity (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088242)

Funny that this post should come up today. This Wednesday, I finally got around to doing my taxes, so I went to the IRS website and clicked on one of their endorsed partners to receive my free online tax submission.


Everything was going fine until I filled out the address of my employer from my W2. On the W2, it was listed as "Comptroller's Office, SoAndSo Corp.". So I typed that in, verbatim, to the website. Surprise of surprises, I got back an ASP debugging page saying that an SQL syntax error had occurred and 's' was an invalid command.


For those of you that don't know, this just screams SQL Injection vulnerability. I went back to the login page and tried logging in with "abc'abc". Not only did I get an SQL syntax error on this page as well, but the debugging information showed the IP address, user name, and password of the MSSQL server used to store all of the tax information. *sigh*


This was at about 10:00 pm, so my immediate attempts to contact the company failed. I also contacted the IRS, and eventually got a case assignment after about three different calls to various help desks. I called the company again in the morning and carefully explained the dangers of A) not turning off ASP debugging information on production systems and B) creating SQL statements by concatinating user input. The IRS did eventually call back, and I was able to connect them up with the company spokesman. I'm sure they had an interesting talk.


Moral of this story... there really isn't one. The IRS had linked to these people directly, and in that way endorsed them, but no one, from the IRS or the company, ever thought of placing a single quote into any one of their text fields. Also, this site was verified by TRUST-e, but apparently they're only worried about SSL. Oh, and after all that, the site still isn't fixed. They've turned off ASP debugging. But that's it. I can still log in with "username'--" and an invalid password. Anyone know where I should go next? Who to talk to?

Re:IRS E-File insecurity (1)

Sfing_ter (99478) | about 8 years ago | (#15088460)

Trinity. 3nity@thematrix.mov

>Insufficient responses for TCP sequencing (3), OS detection may be less accurate
>Interesting ports on 10.2.2.2:
>(The 1533 ports scanned but not shown below are in state: closed)
>Port State Service
>21/tcp open ftp
>23/tcp open telnet
>25/tcp open smtp
>110/tcp open pop3
>1434/udp open slammer
>6889/tcp open bittorrent
>6889/udp open bittorrent
>
>Nmap run completed -- 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 3.194 seconds
>Operating System: WindowsXP Pr0 (H4X0r3D by L337 3W3Z3rS)

Re:IRS E-File insecurity (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 8 years ago | (#15088484)

Try the FBI. I can't believe that outfit isn't running afoul of some serious Federal laws somewhere.

Hax0rz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15088330)

LOL, and now with the article being slashdotted...they probably will notice thousands of port scans on their network after checking logs =)

Lemme get this straight. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 years ago | (#15088485)

And please correct me if I got anything wrong here. The agencies themselves send in reports. Not some "mystery shopper" guy checking their security, but they hand their reports in themselves.

And they STILL fail?

Scary to think that they're even too dumb to cheat.

Slashdot: U.S. government, 4 corruption, 1 health. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 8 years ago | (#15088554)

There were four stories today on Slashdot about U.S. government corruption, and one about the government functioning as it should:

This one: IRS Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely Unprotected [slashdot.org]. If the IRS is denied the computer equipment it needs, there is more money for the government corrupters to steal.

Former BSA VP Confirmed as Tech Undersecretary [slashdot.org]. Another unqualified person is appointed to influence U.S. technology.

FCC Opens Flood Gates for Junk Faxes [slashdot.org]. "Under the new rules, a junk faxer could visit your website and call that an existing business relationship."

AT&T Forwarding All Internet Traffic to NSA? [slashdot.org]. The U.S. government conducts more surveillance world-wide and domestically than any agency, ever, in the history of the world.

Today's news from Slashdot about the U.S. government is not all negative:

FTC Levies Fine Against Big-league Spammers [slashdot.org].

--
Violence does not promote democracy. It promotes more violence.
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