The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it is retiring the e-Filing PIN system following a new wave of cyber-attacks after crooks previously abused the same system last February.

In a statement on the IRS website, the agency said it was planning to eliminate the e-File PIN system later this year, but decided to expedite its decision after they’ve detected another set of cyber-attacks against its online tool.

Hackers abused the tool last February

Last February, the IRS announced it detected an automated bot attack during which unknown crooks tried to illicitly generate E-filing PINs for over 464,000 Americans. The IRS said that crooks got access to 101,000 e-Filing PINs.

The IRS uses the e-Filing PIN system to generate a unique PIN that Americans can use on their Form 1040 to file for tax returns. The PIN is not mandatory, but only serves as an alternative to authenticating the document. US citizens can also use their prior-year adjusted gross income from copies of their prior year tax returns.

Since the e-Filing PIN system was not crucial but was a weak point through which crooks were requesting fraudulent tax returns, the IRS came to the conclusion it was best off without it.

Bolstered security measures do their job

IRS representatives didn’t reveal any details about the latest cyber-attacks but said they were able to catch them thanks to new cyber-security solutions they’ve put in place since the winter.

Besides the e-Filing PIN system, the IRS also had problems with its Get Transcript application, through which users can get copies of their previous tax returns and other IRS documents.

Last May, the service suffered a data breach. In the beginning, the IRS said that crooks accessed details for around 100,000 Americans, but after a nine-month investigation the number was updated to 390,000.

In the second week of June, the IRS announced it relaunched the Get Transcript application with bolstered security features.

Message on e-Filing PIN website

Message on e-Filing PIN website

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