By Jill R. Aitoro
The Internal Revenue Service showed mixed results in its effort to
reduce security risks associated with laptops and a system that
processes individual income tax returns, according to the Treasury
inspector general for tax administration.
The inspector general released two audits this week that evaluated the
agency's progress in correcting security issues identified in previous
In one report released on Tuesday, the auditor found that the IRS
installed an encryption program on 99 percent of its laptops to protect
data stored on the computer's hard drive from unauthorized users.
"Only after a successful log on to the encryption software will the
computer start the log-on process to access other system files," the
inspector general reported. "Consequently, any sensitive data on the
computer remains encrypted until a user has successfully logged on and
deactivated the encryption."
The IRS installed the program in response to a March 2007 audit that
reported sensitive data on laptops and other electronic media was not
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