Earlier this week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it had been subject to a sophisticated data breach that may have compromised the information of 100,000 U.S. taxpayers. In the aftermath of the event, the Federal Bureau of investigation has opened a case to determine what went wrong; questions about the effectiveness of government agency security continue to linger.

However, Craig A. Newman, a partner with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, who has experience in cybersecurity litigation, pointed out, “It wasn’t as if they were hacked, what happened was a very sophisticated group targeted the IRS and already had all the personal information necessary to access the IRS site. That included names, social security numbers and passwords which they got from other sources. They simply used a tool that was available to all other taxpayers, the only difference was that they were accessing the system criminally with information they had obtained from other sources.”

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