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Saturday, 14 October 2017 10:27

IRS puts Equifax contract on hold after malware find Featured


The US Internal Revenue Service has temporarily suspended a short-term contract worth US$7.25 million with credit information provider Equifax for identity proofing services.

This follows the discovery that Equifax, which announced that it had suffered a breach that put the details of 145.5 million Americans at risk, was serving malware from one of its sites.

The contract was announced in the first week of October.

Equifax disclosed the breach of the data of up to 143 million Americans on 7 September. Later it said an additional 2.5 million Americans could be affected.

The IRS said in a statement that during the suspension it would continue reviewing the systems and security at Equifax.

"There is still no indication of any compromise of the limited IRS data shared under the contract," the agency said.

The awarding of the contract was questioned by Senators Ben Sasse (Republican, Nebraska) and Elizabeth Warren (Democrat, Massachusetts) in a letter sent to the IRS commissioner.

Equifax denied that it was serving malware from any part of its website and blamed a third-party vendor.

"Despite early media reports, Equifax can confirm that its systems were not compromised and that the reported issue did not affect out consumer online dispute portal," the company said in a statement.

"The issue involves a third-party vendor that Equifax uses to collect website performance data. That vendor's code running on an Equifax website was serving malicious content.

"Since we learned of the issue, the vendor's code was removed from the Web page, and we have taken the Web page offline to conduct further analysis."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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