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Hackers steal tax information for 100,000 people after attacking IRS

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Hackers stole information on 100,000 taxpayers from the online computers of the US Internal Revenue Service, the federal tax agency said Tuesday.

The IRS said the unidentified cyber thieves used information on the specific taxpayers from sources outside the agency to access the accounts, which included crucial identifying information such as birth dates, addresses and social security numbers.

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“These third parties gained sufficient information from an outside source before trying to access the IRS site, which allowed them to clear a multi-step authentication process, including several personal verification questions that typically are only known by the taxpayer,” the agency said.

The IRS said the theft involved its online “Get Transcript” system, which allows users to view all their transactions and reports with the agency.

The hackers tried to access about 200,000 accounts between February and mid-May, and were successful in about half those attempts.

The IRS said the “Get Transcript” service is on a separate computer system than the one that handles online tax submissions for millions of Americans each year.

“That system remains secure,” it said.

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It said it has shut down the “Get Transcript” service, and its inspector general and criminal investigation offices were reviewing the case.

It did not identify the source of the information that allowed hackers to enter the accounts.

The agency is notifying owners of all 200,000 accounts to warn them about the hacking and provide free credit monitoring for those whose accounts were entered.

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“It’s possible that some of these transcript accesses were made with an eye toward using them for identity theft for next year’s tax season.”


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Disturbing video exposes the dangerous message a State Patrol officer told team: ‘Don’t kill them, but hit them hard’

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Krystal Marx, the executive director of Seattle Pride, shared a disturbing video this week revealing the violent message an officer in the Washington State Patrol gave to his team as it prepared to confront protesters.

“Don’t kill them, but hit them hard,” he said as he walked through a group of his colleagues.

“I remember shaking,” Marx told the Seattle Times of the experience filming the patrol from her office window. “Why not say, ‘Restrain them, calmly’?”

Chris Loftis, a spokesperson for the patrol, gave the Times a statement trying to explain away the comment as poor “word choice,” but it was not reassuring:

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Siberia 10C hotter in warmest May on record: EU

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Temperatures soared 10 degrees Celsius above average last month in Siberia, home to much of Earth's permafrost, as the world experienced its hottest May on record, the European Union's climate monitoring network said Friday.

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) said May 2020 was 0.68C warmer than the average May from 1981 to 2010, with above average temperatures across parts of Alaska, Europe, North America, South America, swathes of Africa and Antarctica.

Globally, "the average temperature for the twelve months to May 2020 is close to 1.3C above the (pre-industrial) level", Copernicus said referring to the benchmark by which global warming is often measured.

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2020 Election

Trump stokes division in Republican Party as he rages at Sen. Lisa Murkowski

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As the Republican Party is struggling to defend him in a moment of nationwide strife, President Donald Trump decided Thursday night to fuel divisions within GOP rather than make nice.

He had already lashed out on Wednesday at his former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who sharply criticized Trump’s response to the ongoing George Floyd protests. But on Thursday night, Trump took at aim at sitting Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

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