Serious Security Breach in Latvian Tax Office

February 16, 2010 Taxation in Latvia

Money at handThe Latvian State Revenue Service (SRS) has admitted that a possible 7.4 million documents have been leaked from its computer system. The information is reputed to have contained tax codes, rates of pay and income levels for individuals, corporate entities, and known public figures.

Spurned by a television report, the SRS released a statement on February 15th confirming that the service had experienced a data leak, but declined to provide any further detail on the extent of the security breach. Speculation has surfaced that over 120 gigabytes of tax return information has been downloaded from the department’s databases over a three month period.

The responsibility for the leak was claimed by the previously unheard of UK-based group 4ATA, which claims to have been established “to fight for a better future of Latvia.” The police have opened an official investigation into the incident, though no suspects yet been named. According to 4ATA, access to the data was made possible by a loophole left in the system intentionally by a senior SRS official.

The SRS has attempted to downplay speculation about the repercussions of the security oversight, describing the situation as “a suspicion of a security incident involving possible data loss from the SRS information system.” Further statements were issued by the Service encouraging business to continue using the online facilities to complete their tax filing, and assuring them that security shortcomings had been ratified making the system perfectly safe.

Photo by Don Hankins