The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said that while security has improved for information technology systems at the Internal Revenue Service, IRS employees remain a vulnerable target for hackers. As proof, of the 100 IRS managers called by TIGTA employees -- who claimed to be IT helpdesk personnel hoping to fix a problem -- 35 surrendered their login names and actually changed their passwords to those suggested by TIGTA personnel. The TIGTA said that the breach of security could signal an opportunity for hackers or former IRS employees. The TIGTA recommended that the IRS's Office of Mission Assurance and Security Services issue periodic reminders to IRS employees about susceptibility to the hacker threat. On a brighter note, however, the recent test results showed a 50 percent improvement versus a similar test conducted in 2001.

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