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Audit Finds Security Weakness in Near Half of Free E-File Services

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Feb 26, 2016
DevilComputerAn audit of the 13 IRS-approved free e-file services has found that six of them do not adequately protect consumers from e-mail scams, according to Accounting Today
 
The audit was commissioned by the Online Trust Alliance (OTA), a nonprofit that advocates for IT security, according to an OTA press release
 
It tested the e-file services against both its own security methodology and the IRS's standards. The audit found that seven scored high in all areas, but the remainder failed to provide sufficient security for consumers. Most of the failing services did not properly authenticate email addresses, which the OTA report said leaves people open to phishing and other scams. Some were also faulted for failing to keep up with technical standards, implement anti-botnet protection, regularly scan their sites for vulnerabilities, or provide third-party audits of their activities. 
"Given that tax data is extremely sensitive with a high risk for victimization, the failure rate of over one third should concern customers and the IRS," said Craig Spiezle, Executive Director and President at the Online Trust Alliance. "Consumer use and IRS approval of such services should be carefully reconsidered."