An embarrassing security breach at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue has allowed unauthorised parties to view the private tax affairs of over 16,000 local businesses – in some cases those of their competitors. While the breach remained open for six months until it was closed towards the end of January, it appears that only 128 exposed accounts were viewed; some of which may have been by the companies’ authorised staff.
The problem arose as a result of technical changes introduced to help accountants deal with their clients’ tax queries. Unfortunately, the alterations also allowed them to look at bulk file data relating to other businesses.
Massachusetts State Governor Charlie Baker’s campaign for re-election is founded on improving efficiency in state government. This slip-up on his watch may not do his prospects any favours.