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Healthcare.gov is rated as less secure than over half of websites, is exposing private records

Obamacare's website, Healthcare.gov has caught a nasty security bug, but it doesn't seem to be seeking treatment.

I. Obamacare Portal is Dangerous to Americans

After a disastrous Oct. 1, 2013 launch and billions wasted/spent, the government's effort to fix its one-stop shop for health insurance focused on the portal's service glitches, which led to timeouts and lost user form information.  The effort drew fire when it was revealed that project managers tried to raise concerns about the site's issues as far back as July 2013, but were largely ignored and told to proceed like it was business as usual.

But for a website that is entrusted with a massive amount of sensitive personal information and records, a number problem was festering beneath the surface.

It turns out that as poorly designed as Healthcare.gov's front-end is, its backend may be even more of a mess, with security experts identifying multiple security flaws.  Some experts argued that the flaws were serious enough to necessitate a shutdown of the site.  Of course, President Barrack Hussein Obama (D) refused to do that, insisting the dangers would be fixed quickly.

Healthcare.gov
Warning: Insecure!

One of the experts to testify before Congress in November about the security concerns, TrustedSec founder David Kennedy, has returned this week with some disturbing news, though, saying one of the worst security holes remains gaping open two months later.

By doing advanced searches using Google Inc.'s (GOOG) search engine and then modifying the resulting URLs minimally, he believes that over 70,000+ records can be accessed.  He says his white hat code of ethics prevents him from actually fully testing the bug, but that he's certain his black hat colleagues would have no problem exploiting it.

Most embarrassingly, the bug is a simple one, he states, and could be cured in a matter of days if the Obama administration committed to treating it.

The fact that it remains unfixed two months after it was widely publicized is disturbing, he argues, as other bugs will be much harder to fix and remain unresolved as well.  Among those is lacking security certifications which allow malicious attack sites to impersonate the government website, preying on victims via phishing scams.

II. Silence From the Obama Administration on Why it Isn't Protecting Americans

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the Health Department agency responsible for Healthcare.gov's development has thus far refused to respond to the latest round of media inquiries regarding the website continuing to endanger Americans.

In December after a special meeting with top tech leaders the President announced he was tapping retired Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Office President Kurt DelBene to lead repair efforts on the site.  But Mr. DelBene -- who carries impressive cloud credentials, having championed Microsoft's Office 365 development -- does not appear to have been able to fix the failing project thus far.

Healtch.gov 404
[Image Source: DailyClash]

Regardless of how you feel about public healthcare in general, or the specific implementation that the President and his allies in Congress passed and signed into law, it's almost impossible to deny that the web face of the program has been an abysmal failure.  After billions spent on the site, SecurityHeaders -- a site that examines websites for known security flaws -- estimates that HealthCare.gov is more insecure than half the sites on the web.

The scan we ran on the site states:

SummaryNumber of Happy Findings: 2
Number of Not As Happy Findings: 8
Percentage Happy Findings: 20%

 
What These Numbers Mean
We detected 2 Happy Findings on www.healthcare.gov. According to the data we have gathered www.healthcare.gov scores worse than approximately 50% of sites out there. The good news is that adding many of our HTTP header recommendations for security take very little time to implement and have a big impact!

(For reference's sake, while we don't have billions, DailyTech was found to be more secure, better than roughly 74 percent of sites.)

In a blog Mr. Kennedy concludes that if you choose to take part in Obamacare via the mandatory website, you're doing so at your own risk.  He concludes:

Everything that we've seen from the website is a symptomatic problem of a much larger issue of how they code the website so I'd be very concerned with using it.

Perhaps the federal healthcare site remains unfixed because keeping Americans secure simply isn't as high a priority to the President as spying on them.  In recent months the President has largely been focused on defending the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), which uses general warrants to seize the internet records and telephone records of nearly every single American.

III. No Energy for HealthCare.gov

Defending policies which treat law abiding Americans as criminals has been an understandably exhausting effort for the head of the U.S.

British monarch King George III, once remarked, "A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me."

Likewise, the President has been compelled to push charges for those who disagree with his spying programs, an effort to extinguish the flame of truth that has consumed much of his focus.  But the administration is determined that taxpayers must not be allowed to learn what their money is being spent on.

To that end it is looking to make an example of leakers so as to warn government employees that if they choose to violate secrecy mandates in order to protect the Constitution they will face treason and/or espionage charges.  Revealing details of the classified domestic surveillance programs is a crime under U.S. law, and the swelling nationalist regime isn't afraid to borrow a page from King George's playbook and crack down on its unruly subjects.

Obama
The Obama administration is returning America to its imperialist English roots with his "total war" on terrorism and general warrants.  The effort has drained the President and his staff on the energy to fix their broken healthcare site.  [Image Source: Freaking News]

Such ongoing efforts to continue its assault on taxpayers' civil liberties appear to have sapped not only taxpayer dollars, but have also drained what little effort the administration might have otherwise invested in fixing its broken healthcare portal.

But the President has stood firm in the face of criticism, looking to employ his crafty oratory gifts to win back the hearts of beleaguered Americans.  Most recently in a speech he attempted to make it sound like he was making some sort of a change to the surveillance state, but upon closer inspection his words actually revealed his decision to continue to back those policies.

As a result of the President's priorities, America's fledgling public healthcare effort remains a laughingstock of other nations, while American companies are viewed as a possible security risk due to America's growing police state that spies on citizens and allies alike.

Source: TrustedSec



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lolololol
By flyingpants1 on 1/22/2014 12:50:00 AM , Rating: 2
I live in Toronto. I just call up my doctor and say I want an appointment, or I can go to one of the dozens of walk-in clinics within driving distance, or the emergency room at the hospital. It's free. No complaints.

Costs a shitload in taxes. Around $300/mo per Canadian. Sucks doesn't it? But it's a lot better than having people dying in the streets from curable diseases.




RE: lolololol
By darthmaule2 on 1/22/2014 7:06:55 AM , Rating: 2
"Around $300/mo per Canadian"

Which is less than the cost of a healthcare plan in the US. And, none of that $300.00 a month goes to a healthcare insurance industry which has no value add.


RE: lolololol
By arazok on 1/22/2014 9:54:50 AM , Rating: 2
I think it’s closer to $400 or $500 a month on a per-capita basis. Of course, in Canada, the poor pay nothing and neither do segments of the population who don’t work, like Kids. So in reality if you have a job your paying far more than that. Probably closer to $700-$1000 a month for the average working person, more if you make more.

I believe that’s comparable to what an American pays for insurance. But in Canada, because the government pays for everything, AND controls the hospitals, AND what’s covered, (etc), what they do to cover costs is ration care. You wait months to see a specialist. Months for tests, and then months for treatment. It took my wife a year and a half to get her hand fixed after mangling her wrist. Meanwhile, she couldn’t work. If you don’t live near a major city, you sometimes just don’t get treatment. There’s stories of people waiting 10+ years to see a specialist for minor (but aggravating) injuries, and they just keep getting bumped by more serious cases.

You guys have the worst health system imaginable, as you pay out of pocket, AND have the government covering people through income taxes and regulating the hell out of everything. It’s expensive as hell. But Canada isn’t much better. They let you rot in the system in agony while you wait for somebody to bother to treat you.


RE: lolololol
By bodar on 1/22/2014 8:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why all the downvote hate. He's not wrong.

quote:
Although not alone in its challenges to providing appropriate and timely access to health care services, Canada lags behind other countries. A 2010 survey ranked Canada lowest among 11 countries for wait times in the following areas:
• Seeing a doctor or nurse when sick: 33% of patients surveyed reported waiting six days or more for an appointment, 5% more than the country ranked second-lowest; • Seeing a specialist: 41% reported waiting two months or more, 7% more than the country ranked second-lowest; and
• Having elective surgery: 25% reported waiting four months or more, 3% more than the country ranked second-lowest


Source: Health Care in Canada, 2012: A Focus on Wait Times, CIHI


RE: lolololol
By headbox on 1/22/14, Rating: -1
RE: lolololol
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/22/2014 11:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nurse salary in Canada is less than half of USA, doctor salary is about what a US nurse makes.
I don't know where you're getting that information.

My brother works as a pool nurse (mostly ER) at a major hospital in the GTA (greater Toronto area) as a nurse with just a four year bachelor's degree and he's making slightly more than he made in the U.S. He'd probably make around $60K for a base salary, but he works a cr-pton of overtime so his actual pay is way over that. His first year he made around $85-95K, this year he should be over $100K.

If it weren't for his tons of school debt and wedding costs he'd be living it up! :)

Granted he gets screwed over as he has to pay extra taxes for working abroad (not sure quite how that works, but as I understand it, Canada gets some cut and the U.S. gets a cut, and overall it ends up being more).

If at all true, I think those statistics have more bearing to rural Canada. In the GTA, my brother says there's almost no difference in wait times or quality of service to back home in Chicago.

About the only difference he says is that if you need a very complex operation (think specialized brain surgery) you might have to go to the U.S. But then again, sometimes you have to do that in the U.S. even. For example, Kobe Bryant went to Germany, I believe for PRP (a platelet knee therapy) as the procedure wasn't yet approved by the FDA in the U.S.

I suspect a lot of where these tales arise is from service in places like Saskatchewan, Victoria Island, Manitoba, the Yukon, or the Northwest Territories, where it's true -- hospitals and staff are scarce (and probably underpaid).

But that's more of a testament to the mostly rural population.

You could similarly say American healthcare is awful and America doesn't have many specialists if you chose to focus on Alaska and the Dakotas and ignore New York, Illinois, and California.

MAYBE Canada's system in urban areas is slightly more lacking in specialist and doctor pay than the U.S., but it's not that far behind. And in core care, e.g. infant mortality rates, etc. Canada actually tends to do better than the U.S.

2013 CIA Estimates
Canada: 4.78 deaths/1k live births
U.S. 5.2 deaths/1k live births

Suicides (per 100k people):
U.S.: 19.2 men, 5.5 women
Canada: 17.9 men, 5.3 women

Avg. Life Expectancy
U.S. 77.4 (men), 88.2 (women)
U.S. 80.4 (men), 84.6 (women)

Say what you will about Canada, but it doesn't look like they are behind in key metrics -- in most cases they are ahead (perhaps due to the lower obesity rates).


RE: lolololol
By DFSolley on 1/23/2014 10:42:03 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about the Canadien life expectancy numbers, but after doing research on the difference between US and European numbers, I found that the numbers were being calculated differently. In the US, every life is counted. In Europe (though it is very different for each country), they will not count a baby until sometimes after birth. Some countries exclude accidents. I expected it was going to be lifestyle or genetic differences that caused the US numbers to be lower, but once you took the calculation difference into account, they were about the same (US better, but within margin of error).


RE: lolololol
By ebakke on 1/23/2014 1:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting. Care to share any links where you found those results? I mean, I can do it myself, but if you have them handy... TIA!


RE: lolololol
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/23/2014 12:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
True but the American Medical Student Association's report on the issue:
http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Libraries/Academy_Docs/Wa...

...points out that a number of Americans complain of wait times, as well. Overall Americans had less complaints of wait times, but more regarding being unable to pay for treatment, being denied specialist referals, etc.
quote:
In a cross-national survey of sick adults in five countries, 40% of people in the U.S. said it was either very difficult or somewhat difficult to see a specialist, compared with 53% in
Canada. Of the U.S. respondents indicating it was difficult to see a specialist, 40% cited long waiting times (vs. 86% in Canada), 31% cited being denied a referral or having to wait for a referral (vs. 10% in Canada), and 17% cited not being able to afford private insurance (vs. 3% in Canada). 14% of U.S. respondents indicated they had a "big problem" with long waits to get an appointment with their regular doctor, compared with 24% in Canada. Based on this data, more Canadians than Americans report that waiting lines are a problem when trying to see their physicians, although some Americans experience this problem as well. Also, more Americans report problems with obtaining referrals and cost of care as obstacles to seeing specialists.
The report also debunks the myth of the "dying untreated Canadian", stating:
quote:
A "waiting list" is a list that patients are enrolled in once they opt to pursue an elective
procedure, assuming that they cannot get this procedure performed immediately. In Canada, waiting lists do NOT exist for emergency procedures. It is a myth that Canadians with serious, life-threatening illnesses are enrolled on a waiting list before they can receive life-saving therapies.
And the report also notes that:
quote:
From 1994 to 1998, 2,031 Canadians were admitted to hospitals in Michigan, 1,689 to hospitals in New York, and 825 to hospitals in Washington. During this period, these hospitalizations represented only 0.23% of all the hospitalizations that occurred in the three provinces bordering these states.
If the problem was as severe as some suggest, there would be a major influx of Canadians into the U.S., which there isn't.

Wait times are a bigger problem in Canada than the U.S., but Canada's system otherwise enjoys many advantage over the American system. And obviously wait times and the # of specialists varies wildly by province.

Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island tend to do very well, largely rural provinces such as Alberta and Nova Scotia can have an estimated 2x wait time, according to the latest estimates.

http://www.cihi.ca/cihi-ext-portal/pdf/internet/HC...


RE: lolololol
By Reclaimer77 on 1/23/2014 9:21:07 AM , Rating: 2
Your evidence is a paper written by a student. It even has the word "hype" in the title! Seriously? This is not a professional or credible source in my opinion. And when did a student association become the authority on this?

I'm fairly surprised to see you making this argument. Socialized medicine is not sustainable. Canada's healthcare system has been heading for a collapse for years now, even in Canada this is well known.

http://www.medec.org/node/2327


RE: lolololol
By spamreader1 on 1/22/2014 10:11:30 AM , Rating: 2
That's not bad at all, I pay more than that every 2 weeks($353.76 bi-weekly) due to having 4 kids, and my insurance sucks.I have to pay like 40-50% of nearly every service except meds with UMR. It's $450 with insurance to go to an ER.


RE: lolololol
By Ammohunt on 1/22/2014 1:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But it's a lot better than having people dying in the streets from curable diseases.


In places like India?


Oy vey.
By SongEmu on 1/21/2014 9:15:00 PM , Rating: 2
The NSA has made the world suspicious of our tech industry and products.

Obamacare has made our health system a giant liability.

Congress has made out government a joke to the world.

What do we have left...?




RE: Oy vey.
By ClownPuncher on 1/22/2014 11:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
Cheeseburgers!


RE: Oy vey.
By TerranMagistrate on 1/22/2014 12:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
*Sigh* Good enough. nom nom nom nom


RE: Oy vey.
By boeush on 1/22/2014 8:40:36 PM , Rating: 1
Don't forget Freedom Fries


RE: Oy vey.
By ebakke on 1/22/2014 11:21:33 PM , Rating: 2
Corn. Lots of corn. Good googly moogly can we grow corn.

Oh, and we build some crazy military tech that we sell to everyone under the sun.

And we have the Grand Canyon!


Unapologetically insecure
By Divide Overflow on 1/21/2014 10:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't trust my personal information to such an insecure database in the first place. The fact that Obama's administration has specifically exempted the program from being required to notify members when their information has been compromised is just the final nail in the coffin.




By RDI on 1/23/2014 11:08:47 AM , Rating: 2
I tried using the system to get a insurance quote several times.(error out each time) I finally broke down and called the 800 number. After an hour and 40 minutes wait (with music on hold) I got a support person . She re-did my app and got the same error. Where upon she hung up on me. A couple hours later I went threw the same thing with a guy this time. A friend told me about there being trained people at the local hospital to help, so I called for an apt an went. When they got the same error, she called the 800 number and spoke to a supervisor (several, in fact), They said that they "think" it means that "I don't make enough money to get any discounts for Health Insurance". They also said that they have no way to communicate with the programmers. I am screwed.




Spending USA bankrupt
By MathewMatt2003 on 1/21/14, Rating: -1
RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By brshoemak on 1/21/14, Rating: 0
RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By homebredcorgi on 1/22/2014 12:09:54 AM , Rating: 5
Indeed.

I see two major issues with our current system:

1) Insurance companies are exempt from anti-trust laws (basically an anachronism from when they wrote the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890). This is how they sell drugs in Canada for half what we have to pay here for the exact same thing - among many other shady things. If you or I started a business that did this we would go to jail very quickly for collusion, racketeering and price fixing.

Making them play by the same rules every other business has to would open up secondary markets that currently do not exist and stop this legalized extortion.

2) There is no price transparency. Even with insurance, you still have no clue what you will end up paying. Don't even get me started on the "this is not a bill" letters....It is insane that for routine procedures, where your life isn't on the line (broken arm, hip replacement, etc), you can't be told what it will cost before it is done. Even shady mechanics give you an estimate first!

If hospitals were forced to list rates or estimates for routine procedures, things like $50 bed sheets and $100 aspirin would go away quickly. In fact, a recent study (in the Lancet?) compared hip replacement surgery costs across the nation and found the price to range anywhere from $10000 to $100,000 dollars for the exact same procedure - with zero correlation to "quality/notoriety" of the hospital. Who would go to the one that charges $100K if they could hop on a plane and go to the one that charges 1/10th that price?


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By Arsynic on 1/22/2014 10:05:24 AM , Rating: 4
Insurance isn't the problem it's the cost of healthcare. Why is it necessary to need insurance for a basic 15 minute checkup? And why does this check-up cost $200?

Imagine if car insurance had to cover oil changes and tire rotations because it cost $200 for an oil change and $500 for a tire rotation because auto shops had to pay malpractice insurance because of being sued every time a new tire blows out?

No one is doing anything about the cost of healthcare and a system that rewards seeing more patients ($$$$) rather than reward based on better outcomes. Doctors are trained to just peddle drugs for Big Pharma rather than help people get better.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By integr8d on 1/22/2014 1:34:26 PM , Rating: 3
"Why is it necessary to need insurance for a basic 15 minute checkup? And why does this check-up cost $200?"

You're answering your own question. Insurance IS the problem. Insurance is nothing but another form of credit. And credit always drives up the price of goods and services. If people had to pay CASH for everything but the most dire circumstances (IE what insurance was originally intended for but is now better thought of as a 'benefit plan'), you better believe that hospitals would be advertising their prices (2 for 1's and half-offs, all day long). And the first question you would be asked, when going to see the doc, wouldn't be 'Who's your insurance provider?'

Insurance companies BENEFIT from high prices. It makes them the only people who can grant you access to care. It guarantees them subscribers. It creates a market within a market that completely distorts the original intent.

You used cars as an example. And that's perfect. Wreck your car and go to the body shop. If insurance is picking up the tab, it's $4000. If you're paying cash, it's $1800. Insurance jacks up the price of everything. Credit does the same. They're both the same.

I asked a friend who specializes in real estate what would happen if everyone had to pay cash for homes. He didn't have to think about it for a second. He said the prices of homes would be cut in half overnight. And that they'd continue to fall until they reached their true market values.

Insurance is MOST DEFINITELY the problem, if the goal is affordable healthcare. If the goal is 'universal healthcare', most likely insurance is the only option. And you have to force it on everyone. But don't expect prices to come down.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By Jimmy McNulty on 1/22/2014 8:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right. Insurance has been the problem, though not a disastrous problem. But in an effort to reform, we took this poor insurance system and dragged them in exactly the wrong direction by getting the government in the middle of every aspect of healthcare delivery and patient / doctor decision making, thereby turning an inefficient healthcare system into a complete fiasco.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By 0ldman on 1/22/2014 2:28:35 AM , Rating: 2
The current changes help exactly how? Premiums go up, deductibles go up, less coverage for more money.

Seriously, we could do without that kind of help.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By marvdmartian on 1/22/2014 7:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but I'm sure political payoffs....er, I mean, CONTRIBUTIONS!! (yeah, that's it! contributions!!) went up too, right??

This was a win-win for the politicians, who, no doubt, are getting bigger paychecks from their insurance companies, while the American public are forced to pay premiums on overpriced insurance, and break even (MAYBE) with a win-loss.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By KCjoker on 1/22/2014 6:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
Of course a bottle of Tylenol shouldn't cost that much. The reason it does is because they have to offset the costs of other medicine/procedures/research/etc....People want big Pharma to create new drugs to cure terrible diseases like Cancer/Aids/etc..but they go ballistic when that costs a lot of money.


RE: Spending USA bankrupt
By ritualm on 1/22/2014 7:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
That's not the reason.

Why price a bottle of Tylenol at $4 when you can just rob your customers (patients) blind? They can sell it at $100 per tablet. Governments won't care, despite their appearing to care about high healthcare costs, because they're not the ones holding the bag when the state/federal coffers start running empty. Insurers won't care because they can just lock up the debtors behind bars.

Either way, American citizens lose. However, very few people care because such cases are just statistics on a blank piece of paper. The general population is apathetic. The big players know it and they're exploiting it to the last penny.


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