Massive IRS data breach much bigger than first thought

Daily News Article - March 2, 2016


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. a) What is the “Get Transcript” program?
b) How did hackers use this program to steal taxpayers’ personal information?

3. How has the number of taxpayer accounts hacked by cyber criminals changed since first made public by the IRS in 2015?

4. What does identity expert Steve Weisman say about the IRS’s ability to protect taxpayers’ identity?

5. Why does CBS News suggest tax preparers could be to blame for hackers acquiring the personal information they needed to hack into taxpayers’ IRS accounts?

6. What has the IRS said/done in the wake of the hacking?

7. Per Wikipedia: The IRS Commissioner is appointed by the President, with the consent of the Senate, for a five-year term. Internal Revenue Code § 7803 requires that the appointment be made from individuals who, among other qualifications, have a demonstrated ability in management. By law, the Commissioner is also part of the "Federal law enforcement community."
a) What do you think? - should the IRS Commissioner be held responsible for this egregious fiasco? If so, how? Explain your answer.
b) How do you think President Obama should address this widespread hacking of taxpayer data? Explain your answer.

8. When the breach was originally announced in May 2015, IRS commissioner John Koskinen played down the data leak. “Our basic information is secure,” he said at a press conference. “This is just the latest manifestation of people getting enough data to masquerade as a taxpayer.”
Jeff Williams, chief technology officer at Contrast Security, said if hackers were able to figure out how to trick the IRS’ systems into thinking they were legitimate users, the tax agency should have, too.

Wikipedia notes, “The projected estimate of the budget for the IRS for fiscal year 2011 was $12.633 billion.”

a) What 2 adjectives do you think best describe the management of the IRS? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.
Answers vary.