Social Security numbers exposed after glitch on Maryland govt. tax site

Hundreds of Social Security numbers on the website for the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation website could have been compromised while victims' homestead tax rebate applications were transfered to a secure server.

How many victims? About 900.

What happened? The application system lacked a necessary security certificate used to ensure a secure, encrypted connection.

Details: Officials doubt anyone gained access to the sensitive information because the data was left exposed for only a short period of time, and hackers would have had to target the site. The site was shut down for about two days last week.

Quote: "While it is technically possible there was some sort of compromise, it is logistically unfeasible." - Tim Brooks, associate director in charge of software development at Towson University's Regional Economic Studies Institute, which manages the state's web-based tax-application system.

Source:, The Washington Times, "Taxpayer data exposed online," Jan. 4.

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