Feeds

Report: IRS networks riddled with vulns, rogue servers

Taxpayer beware

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

The US Internal Revenue Service is putting tax payers at risk by operating thousands of web servers that contain security vulnerabilities or have not received proper authorization, a new report has concluded.

According to the Treasury Inspector for the Tax Administration - a Treasury Department watchdog - the IRS operates 2,093 web servers with at least one vulnerability. It said 540 of those servers contained one or more vulnerabilities rated high risk. The report identified 1,811 internal servers that had not been approved to connect to the network. Some 1,150 of those were being used for non-business purposes.

Under IRS rules, all internal websites and servers must be registered with the agency's Modernization and Information Technology Services organization.

"Unauthorized servers pose a greater risk because the IRS has no way to ensure that they will be continually configured in accordance with security standards and patched when new vulnerabilities are identified," the report's authors wrote. "Malicious hackers or employees could exploit the vulnerabilities on these web servers to manipulate data on the servers or to use the servers as launch points to attack other computers connected to the network."

Examples of high-risk vulnerabilities included buffer overflow weaknesses and servers that used blank passwords. The authors blamed the vulnerabilities on employees who failed to carry out duties as required.

The report offered five recommendations that included assigning responsibility for registration of specific servers, the blocking of unauthorized servers from the IRS network and an annual scan of the network to identify all machines that are connected.

The full report is available here. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.