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Computer worm taxes Revenue Dept.

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A computer worm that infected Washington state Revenue Department's system caused some businesses to be charged twice for their taxes.

The department has reversed 1,400 faulty transactions, Deputy Director Ralph Osgood said. He said officials don't know where the computer worm originated.

The Washington State Patrol is investigating. "No confidential taxpayer information was compromised, no data was lost and there was no loss of funds," Osgood said.

The worm entered the Revenue Department's computer system Monday and infected all 13 offices statewide.

It shut down the network, which affected the department's billing system.

The system failed to flag accounts of businesses that paid their taxes over the Internet and charged the businesses for their taxes a second time.

Osgood said all the mistaken charges have been accounted for and the money has been returned to the affected businesses. "It wasn't their fault. So far, the businesses have been very understanding," Osgood said.

Monday was the monthly due date for certain business taxes. As the agency's 1,060 employees turned on their computers, the worm spread rapidly.

The entire computer system was shut down Monday and Tuesday and was starting to come back on line yesterday afternoon.

The FBI's Northwest cybercrimes task force is investigating.


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