Obamacare website too vulnerable, say security experts

20 November 2013
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
Some experts have said the Obamacare website would better be shut down due to security glitches

Some experts have said the Obamacare website would better be shut down due to security glitches

Obamacare website puts sensitive data of users at risk, experts have said said, recommending it to be shut down until the problems are addressed.

Speaking in front of the US congress on Tuesday, some of the questioned experts said the site needed to be completely rebuilt to run more efficiently, making it easier to protect.

With its 500 million lines of code – 25 times the size of Facebook – the HealthCare.gov website is extremely vulnerable, the experts believe.

"When your code base is that large it's going to be indefensible," Morgan Wright, CEO of a firm known as Crowd Sourced Investigations, said in a Republican-led questioning.

David Kennedy, head of computer security consulting firm TrustedSec LLC and a former US Marine Corps cyber analyst said in a written testimony some of the major security glitches of the HealthCare.gov would require at least seven to 12 months to be fixed and suggested the site would better be shut down until the problems are solved.

Earlier this month, experts revealed the site lets people know invalid user names when logging in, allowing hackers to identify user IDs.

Avi Rubin, director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University and an expert on health and medical security, said he needed more data before calling for a shutdown of the site.

"Bringing down the site is a very drastic response," he told Reuters after the hearing. However, he admitted, he would not use the site himself because of security concerns.

It has also been revealed during the hearing that the part of the HealthCare.gov system securing financial operations is by far not ready and won’t be until at least mid-January.

According to Henry Chao, HealthCare.gov’s project manager, the unfinished technology makes up 40 per cent of the whole system.

According to insider sources, work on the back-end technology was postponed by the managers in order to allow developers to fully concentrate on the user interface prior to the website’s launch.

Julie Bataille, the spokeswoman for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – a federal health agency operating the website, said the financial functions would not be needed until mid-January.

"The back-end financial management systems are something that we do not believe are essential until 2014 and we'll roll those out in those timeframes," she said.

However, the insurers will start sending the bills as soon as 1 January, claiming billions of dollars for subsidised coverage, which could possibly lead to a collapse of the fragile website.

Some experts have also suggested a program needed to confirm the identities, subsidy levels and coverage choices of individual plan enrolees would have to be in place in December, if coverage is to begin on time on 1 January.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1604

"Should the UK's engineers be in or out of Europe? The IET sets out its official position on the EU referendum this week - will you agree?"

->

E&T jobs

  • QUANTITY SURVEYOR

    SSE
    • Melksham or Swindon or Oxford
    • SALARY £33,520 - £44,269 + CAR (SSE 7) DEPENDING ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    Due to continued growth and success of the performance team, we are looking to recruit two Quantity Surveyors to join our existing team, providing...

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • QUANTITY SURVEYOR

    SSE
    • Reading or Slough or Uxbridge
    • SALARY £33,520 - £44,269 + CAR (SSE 7) DEPENDING ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    Due to continued growth and success of the performance team, we are looking to recruit two Quantity Surveyors to join our existing team, providing...

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • QUANTITY SURVEYOR

    SSE
    • Bournemouth/Poole or Salisbury or Southampton
    • SALARY £33,520 - £44,269 + CAR (SSE 7) DEPENDING ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    Due to continued growth and success of the performance team, we are looking to recruit two Quantity Surveyors to join our existing team, providing...

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • Managing Estimator - Project Controls

    National Grid
    • Warwickshire, England
    • £57 - £65 per annum

    Managing Estimator - Warwick - National Grid Salary: £57-65k plus excellent benefits including: Performance Bonus, a generous pension scheme, flexible benefitsLocation: Warwick (CV34 6DA) - West Midlands We currently have an exciting opportunity for a

    • Recruiter: National Grid

    Apply for this job

  • SAP TEAM MANAGER GENERAL ENQUIRIES

    SSE
    • Melksham, Swindon or Oxford
    • £33,520 TO £44,269 + CAR (SSE7) DEPENDING ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    An exciting opportunity has arisen for an Overhead Tower Line Manager within Power Distribution covering Southern England.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Engineer - Submarine Operability

    BAE Systems
    • Cumbria, England, Barrow-In-Furness
    • Competitive package

    As a Principal Engineer - Operability, you will be using your knowledge of submarine systems operation to influence the way the systems are designed, ensuring the Royal Navy personnel will be able to operate the system effectively

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • OVERHEAD TOWER LINE MANAGER

    SSE
    • Southern England
    • SALARY £42,149 - £62,427 + CAR (SSE9/10) DEPENDANT ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    An exciting opportunity has arisen for an Overhead Tower Line Manager within Power Distribution covering Southern England.

    • Recruiter: SSE

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer - Water

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful Water and Environment Unit is recruiting an electrical engineer....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful water business continues to win and deliver a fantastic amount of work....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Programme Manager

    Network Rail
    • England, London
    • £76800 - £86400 per annum

    Do you possess a track record of taking the lead on large projects?

    • Recruiter: Network Rail

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T