Menu
Security concerns about HealthCare.gov are overblown, Democrats say

Security concerns about HealthCare.gov are overblown, Democrats say

HHS officials report just 32 security incidents since the site has launched

Security concerns raised by Republican critics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' botched rollout of HealthCare.gov have been overstated, according to a memo released Friday by two Democratic members of Congress.

HHS officials, in a briefing to lawmakers this week, reported just 32 security incidents at HealthCare.gov since its Oct. 1 launch, and "there have been no successful security attacks," said the memo from Democratic Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

The briefing was "reassuring," the lawmakers wrote. "The security of Healthcare.gov has not been breached, and hackers have had no access to personally identifiable information. HHS officials indicated that they were conducting 24-7 system monitoring and ongoing assessments in order to ensure and strengthen system security."

But it's concerning that HHS officials have found so few security incidents, said a spokeswoman for Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who has questioned the site's security. Websites of comparable size to HealthCare.gov averaged more than 230 security incidents a day in the past year, said spokeswoman Kelsey Knight.

The lack of reported security incidents "is more concerning to us," she said. "That report shows that there's no system monitoring."

A cybersecurity expert has pointed out one security flaw at the site that could lead to phishing exploits, said Knight, whose boss is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Eleven of the 32 security events remained under investigation as of Wednesday, Waxman and DeGette wrote in the memo.

Security investigators at HHS classified one of the remaining 21 events as an unsuccessful probe of the site and two incidents as inappropriate use of the site in violation of acceptable use policies. One of those two incidents was a denial-of-service attempt using malware called Destroy Obamacare, the memo said. Obamacare is the common name for the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform law that created HealthCare.gov.

Security investigators classified 15 of the incidents as unauthorized access, in which a website user gained unauthorized access to information. Those cases "were isolated in nature" and generally involved software bugs, the memo said. In one case that's been publicized, one user's personal information was shared with another user, the memo said, but "none of these events involved a significant breach of personal information."

In addition, security researchers ultimately decided two other events turned out to be "non-incidents," the memo said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Government use of ITU.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesHealthcare.govKelsey KnightU.S. Congresshealth caregovernmentMike Rogersindustry verticalsinternetDiana DeGetteHenry Waxman

Featured

Slideshows

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island

​Ingram Micro’s Hooked on Lenovo incentive programme recently rewarded 28 of New Zealand's top performing resellers with a full-on fishing trip at Great Barrier Island for the third year​ in a row.

Tight lines as Hooked on Lenovo catches up at Great Barrier Island
Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney

As the dust settles on the 2017 AWS Summit in Sydney, ARN looks back an action packed two-day event, covering global keynote presentations, 80 breakout sessions on the latest technology solutions, and channel focused tracks involving local cloud stories and insights.

Inside the AWS Summit in Sydney
Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day

Ingram Micro hosted its third annual Cure Kids Charity Golf Tournament at the North Shore Golf Club in Auckland. In total, 131 resellers, vendors and Ingram Micro suppliers enjoyed a round of golf consisting of challenges on each of the 18 sponsored holes, with Team Philips taking out the top honours.

Channel tees off on the North Shore as Ingram Micro hosts annual Cure Kids Charity golf day
Show Comments