HealthCare.Gov Users Urged To Change Passwords To Protect Themselves, No Compromise Detected

People who used the federal health care exchange websites were told they should change the passwords after the White House looked at the government’s vulnerability in regards to the Heartbleed Internet security bug.

While there’s no indication the HealthCare.gov website was compromised, the action of advising people was out sheer caution. According to officials, the government is looking into the Heartbleed situation and users of various websites were told they need to change their passwords and may still need to change passwords of other websites. This could include passwords involved with the WhiteHouse.gov petitions page.

On the website, users visiting the site got this message: “Healthcare.gov users many layers of protections to secure your information. While there’s no indication that any personal information has been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers’ passwords out of an abundance of caution.”

The programming flaw of Heartbleed has resulted in numerous security concerns for websites all across the Internet and affects a commonly used encryption technology that’s supposed to keep online accounts protected. Most Internet services have worked tirelessly to protect themselves against the issue and recommend users change passwords immediately.

The HealthCare.gov website became a key target for Obamacare law critics last fall when the initial opening showed it had serious flaws within its online system. Critics raised concerns regarding the possible security vulnerabilities of the website where users enter a significant amount of personal information.

The problems associated with the website were fixed primarily during its second month of enrollment and sign-ups for medical care exceeded initial expectations. President Barack Obama said roughly eight million people have enrolled in some type of insurance plan.

It’s not known just how much damage has been done by the Heartbleed security flaw. The hole, which had gone undetected for over two years, exists on numerous Internet web servers. And, it is quite possible the flaw went undetected by hackers, but the reality is this: no one knows if it did or not. Hackers may or may not have exploited the flaw and never did get caught.

According to the White House, the federal government did not know about the vulnerability until the situation went public earlier this month just like the rest of the public. Just like other websites, the federal government uses encryption technology to ensure their users’ private information is protected.

The Homeland Security Department has looked into the possible vulnerabilities that exist for the government’s websites. According to the Internal Revenue Service, it was not affected by the Heartbleed bug.

DHS Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications Phyllis Schneck said the focus will be on the situation until its government agency has mitigated their systems’ vulnerability. Schneck said responses to the issue will continue if the government finds other issues the vulnerability created.

Officials did not stipulate how government websites would flag websites to be a part of the Heartbleed security review, but did say the number would probably be limited.

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Posted by on Apr 20 2014. Filed under New, Sci/Tech. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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