PHILIPSBURG–The system at Tax Administration (Tax Office) has been down since Thursday, February 9, and the department says its Information Technology (IT) Department has been working around the clock to restore services as soon as possible.
Asked about the closure during the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday, Finance Minister Ardwell Irion acknowledged the closure. “The Tax Office was down for about a week and yes, there was a notice, so it wasn’t as if everyone was mute. There was a notice on their page … And that was due to a migration process. The systems that we have in the government now, which this government is trying to update and bring up to standard, are legacy systems. The issue was that Microsoft had a security update and it was not updated properly on a 2003 server – an outdated server – so instead of rolling back the servers, we decided now we are going to move forward and put everything on new servers and update the servers so that we can have the proper security update,” Irion explained.
He said the country has IT professionals on the island whom he respects. “The process has now been finalised. We have gotten an update this morning [Wednesday morning – Ed.] that the process has been finalised and if there are one or two persons that haven’t been fully migrated, they will be handled between today and tomorrow [Wednesday and Thursday].”
In the meantime, the Tax Administration said in a notice posted on its website on February 13, and on government’s Facebook Page on Wednesday, February 22, that a follow-up notice will be sent to advise the public once the system is operating. The Department said its offices remain open to the public Mondays to Fridays from 8:00am to 2:00pm and indicated that further requests can be made via
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Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/tax-office-system-down-since-feb-9
I hope this is not a GEBE kind of thing !!!!!
If the system is down since Feb.9 (almost 3 weeks) there’s defenitly something wrong.
I heard Grant Thornton performed a IT assesment dated Jan. 10 2023. I received a copy of the report and i can NOT understand why Government did not take any action. The report makes it clear that something is wrong. To name a few thigs from the report:
1.There is no formalized Backup and Recovery Procedure document in place. It is claimed by IT that this document is currently in draft.
However, we did not observe this draft document as it was not shared for review as part of the assessment.
2.We observed that backups are stored in the same domain as the servers, in which the backup storage is separated from the network via
firewalls. Even though the accessibility is restricted, having backups in the same domain creates a higher risk of the backups getting
compromised if the domain is compromised.
3.We observed that back-ups are not tested on a regular basis. The effectiveness of the backups cannot be determined if they are not
tested. Hence, this creates a risk that back-ups are not effective and/or do not meet expectations.
1.There is no regular review of firewall rules conducted by the IT department. Due to the lack of resources, the IT department performs a traffic details analysis and implements firmware updates on an ad-hoc
basis. This may result in redundant rules and have an impact on the overall security of the network.
2.The current security procedures are inadequate to quickly detect and respond to incidents. The inability to quickly detect and respond to incidents will result in the unavailability of critical networks and
applications due to the increased likelihood of malicious attacks and other incidents. Besides unavailability, such attacks could also lead to the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
And these are just a few observations from a long list Grant Thornton made.
By no means am i a IT professional, but even i can see something is very wrong with Government IT