What could make tax season worse? A massive case of identity theft

IRS hack attack

As if tax season wasn't unpleasant enough, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has become the subject of a massive hack with over a hundred thousand cases of identity theft.

The IRS announced in a statement that identity thieves used malware to identify 464,000 unique social security numbers in January. Out of this lot, the same tool cracked the E-file PIN number, which is used to electronically file tax returns, for 101,000 social security numbers.

With this information, hackers could have potentially signed into the IRS online tax filing system and dug up users' financial history, including yearly income, bank information and investment records.

In the face of this possibility, the IRS maintains that the hackers were not able to access any personal taxpayer information kept in the IRS system. The government agency also says it will take immediate steps to notify affected taxpayers how their personal information was compromised by mail, which really isn't immediate at all.

Currently, IRS cybersecurity experts are working closely with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and other agencies to assess the situation. The IRS also plans to bring up this troubling occurrence with its Security Summit state and industry partners in an effort to get to the bottom of the breach.

In the interim, taxpayer can change their E-file pins and contact their financial institution (i.e. credit cards and banks) to be on the look out for any suspicious activity.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.