Identity thieves who specialize in tax refund fraud had big help this past tax year from Equifax, one of the nation's largest consumer data brokers and credit bureaus. The trouble stems from TALX, an Equifax subsidiary that provides online payroll, HR and tax services. Equifax says crooks were able to reset the 4-digit PIN given to customer employees as a password and then steal W-2 tax data after successfully answering personal questions about those employees.
In a boilerplate text sent to several affected customers, Equifax said the unauthorized access to customers' employee tax records happened between April 17, 2016 and March 29, 2017.
Beyond that, the extent of the fraud perpetrated with the help of hacked TALX accounts is unclear, and Equifax refused requests to say how many consumers or payroll service customers may have been impacted by the authentication weaknesses.
Email fraud is nothing new, but online criminals have become ever more-effective at spoofing their identities to trick employees into sending them money. The Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACSC) recorded losses of over $20M to business email compromise (BEC) attacks last year alone, up 230 percent over the previous year – and the full amount is certain to be much larger.
Cybersecurity Insights - Attack
No matter how robust your security, or how diligent your employees, network credentials are a free pass for cybercriminals. This is mostly because employees are relied upon for their own password management. And with more than 4.8 billion sets of stolen credentials said to be available online, odds are that at least a few of your employees’ user IDs and passwords are just waiting to be used by unscrupulous outsiders. Are you ready to stop them?
Cybersecurity Insights - People
Cyber resilience will be particularly important as Australian organisations face increased pressure to quickly detect, respond to, and manage the repercussions of breaches in the wake of 2018’s Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme.