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Calls grow for tearing down the Obamacare website

Monday, December 02, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: Obamacare, Healthcare.gov, personal data

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(NaturalNews) In the mid-1980s, at the Cold War's climax, President Ronald Reagan, in a speech, implored Soviet Premier Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." He was talking about the Berlin Wall, which divided Germany into the communist East and democratic West, and he was appealing to Gorbechev to give his people freedom from the tyranny of authoritarianism.

It was momentous for its statesmanship and vision, even if many people might not have realized it at the time. And eventually, that's precisely what Gorbachev did.

Fast forward to 2013. Now, we have U.S. congressmen imploring President Barack Obama to tear down a website. This is what qualifies for statesmanship these days, I guess.

'Trove of personal data'

Nevertheless, the message - contained in a column that U.S. Rep. Lamar Alexander wrote for Breitbart News - is appropriate. While it doesn't carry major international implications, Alexander's appeal for Obama to ditch the glitch-prone failure that characterizes the Obamacare exchange is the domestic equivalent of asking him to restore Americans' freedom:

Many Americans have experienced the ill effects of Obamacare. That's because the President's broken promises are piling up. He promised that if you like your health care plan you can keep it. But for millions of Americans, that's not true.

He said that the law would make health insurance more affordable. But across the country, Americans are seeing their premiums go up, not down. And when launching Healthcare.gov, the Obama administration said that the website was safe, secure and open for business. We now know that isn't true, either.

Alexander and others have pointed out that users of Healthcare.gov must provide a trove of personal data. In fact, the site is "one of the largest collections of personal information ever assembled," Alexander writes. Furthermore, the site links information between seven federal agencies and state agencies, as well a host of government contractors.

The site asks for users to provide personal info like birth dates, Social Security numbers and household incomes "in order to obtain information about potential health coverage," writes Alexander.

However, security and IT experts have warned that flaws inherent in the site put everyone's personal information at risk of being stolen by hackers.

"This week, the Science Committee, which I chair, held a hearing to examine security and privacy concerns about the Obamacare website," Alexander wrote. "We heard from witnesses outside the government who are experts in cybersecurity and hacking websites. They provided a convincing evidence of the vulnerabilities that underlie Healthcare.gov."

The lawmaker said one of the panel's witnesses, David Kennedy, the CEO of information security firm TrustedSEC, is a "white hat hacker" - someone hired by companies around the world to test the security of their online systems by actually hacking into them.

"During the hearing," Alexander wrote, "Mr. Kennedy gave a demonstration of the Healthcare.gov website's vulnerabilities showing in real-time that hackers can access personal information on the website."

He went on to say that it is clear that the website is both vulnerable and presently under attack.

The good-guy hacker was asked by the panel if he thought the site had already been compromised. He testified that he believed the site had already been hacked or would soon be.

Already evidence that large-scale hacking attempts have been made

In an interview with FoxNews.com, Kennedy said he based his statements on an analysis revealing a large number of SQL injection attacks against the Healthcare.gov website, which are indicative of "a large amount" of hacking attempts.

"Based on the exposures that I identified, and many that I haven't published due to the criticality of exposures - if a hacker wanted access to the site or sensitive information - they could get it," he told the website.

There is a massive amount of personal information required of users, and that has both security experts and some lawmakers concerned that such information is easily compromised because of the site's poor security.

Also, Alexander said identity thieves would make life hell for users' compromised data.

"The massive amount of personal information collected by the Healthcare.gov website creates a tempting target for scam artists. Identity theft jeopardizes credit ratings and personal finances," he wrote.





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