security

Hacking expert cracked Healthcare.gov in four minutes

Friday, January 31, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Healthcare.gov, hacking expert, Obamacare

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(NaturalNews) The news just keeps getting worse for Obamacare, as evidenced by new revelations that the glitch-prone and incomplete federal online exchange, Healthcare.gov, isn't even secure enough to use.

That's the diagnosis of one of the country's top "white hat" hackers - hack specialists who work for the good guys testing the security of government and corporate websites.

Just last week, David Kennedy appeared before a congressional committee to discuss the security lapses inherent in the Healthcare.gov website. On Sunday, Kennedy appeared on Fox News to explain just how easy it was for a hacker to break into the site, as reported by The Washington Times (and, sadly, too few other media outlets):

Hacking expert David Kennedy told Fox's Chris Wallace that he determined he could gain access to 70,000 personal records of Obamacare enrollees via HealthCare.gov within about 4 minutes - and it required nothing more than a standard browser....

But the government says the site is just fine

"And 70,000 was just one of the numbers that I was able to go up to and I stopped after that," he said. "You know, I'm sure it's hundreds of thousands, if not more, and it was done within about a 4 minute timeframe. So, it's just wide open."

"You can literally just open up your browser, go to this, and extract all this information without actually having to hack the website itself," he said.

Government officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the website and for implementing the vast bureaucracy that is Obamacare, have said recently that the site is secure and that fixes to it have enabled users to input their data without fear of having it stolen.

In a separate, recent appearance before the House Oversight Committee, Healthcare.gov security official Teresa Fryer, chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said when the site first launched in October she was less certain about its security. Since then, however, she says improvements have been made.

"Given the positive results of the recent security control assessments... I would recommend [Healthcare.gov] be given a new authority to operate" when the current ATO - a document required for Healthcare.gov's launch - expires. She went on to say that, while no one can "guarantee any system is hack-proof," "the protections we have put in place have successfully prevented attacks."

Oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., voiced skepticism. He said, given all of the problems the site has had, it is "still questionable in its security."

As reported by CBS News:

The risk of vulnerabilities on the health care website is very serious, the congressman said, given that it has "tentacles to some of the most personal information" on databases belonging to multiple government agencies like the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

'It's not just myself saying this site is insecure'

Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, agrees that the site remains vulnerable. During his congressional testimony, he said, based on his testing, the site was "100 percent" insecure, according to a report by The Washington Free Beacon.

"What we learned was that they had rushed through what we call the software development life cycle where they actually build the application," he said during his Fox News appearance.

"So when you do that, security doesn't really get integrated into it. And what happened with the rocky launch in October is they slapped a bunch of servers in trying to fix the website just to keep it up and running so that people could actually go and use it. The problem is they still didn't imbed any security into it," he said.

"It's not just myself that's saying this website is insecure, it's also seven other independent security researchers that also looked at the research I've done and came to the exact same conclusion," Kennedy added.

Sources:

http://www.washingtontimes.com

http://www.cbsnews.com

http://freebeacon.com

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