BIR database secure from hackers – Henares
MANILA — Data on taxpayers’ information and payments are secure on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) website, as the country’s largest tax-collection agency is always on its toes to prevent cyber-criminals from accessing the system, according to Commissioner Kim Henares.
“There’s always network security in place. That was also the reason why last year, taxpayers had difficulty accessing our website during the e-filing. Our firewall was robust,” Henares told reporters.
With the BIR database carrying sensitive information, Henares said they should ideally strike a balance between website accessibility and security, although considerations for the latter have outweighed convenience for taxpayers.
“If you have high security, entering our system becomes more inconvenient… But we cannot sacrifice security just because we want to make it more accessible,” she said.
Henares said the BIR has added another layer of security on its website that would prevent entry to the database. “Not just anyone can enter, that’s the trade off. There’s always another server in between that people access and they cannot enter our database directly.”
She said the recent leak of voters’ data from the Commission on Elections’ website highlighted the reason why the BIR has been on guard against cyber-criminals.
No system is hack-proof but the BIR always updates its systems to ensure high security features are in place, according to Henares.
“We try to be updated. We try to be one step ahead of cyber-criminals,” Henares said.
“We cannot say 100 percent we can prevent it [hacking]. We just put as many security measures as we can. The thing that’s certain is we are always monitoring our system,” she added.
In case a cyber-criminal would get through the BIR website’s already robust defences, the agency’s IT personnel would shut down or switch off the entire system to prevent access to, and worse, leak of sensitive data, Henares said. SFM
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