Del. Senator Downplays Impact of Healthcare.gov Hack - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Senator Downplays Impact of Healthcare.gov Hack

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware's senior US senator is downplaying the impact of a recent security breach on the federal healthcare website while saying cyber security in general remains an extremely serious problem.

The federal government announced Thursday the security breach on healthcare.gov. But the hack itself happened July 8. It was only noticed four days.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, used an analogy to describe the attack.

If healthcare.gov is a house, then the hackers got into the garage, maybe an unattached shed, but never got into the house itself and didn't take any valuables.

The US Department of Health and Social Services says hackers got into a testing area of healthcare.gov, not a space that contained consumer information, like names, birth dates or social security numbers. They installed malicious software that could attack other websites.

Sen. Carper says sites, including federal ones, face threats from hackers around the clock.

"What we need to do is learn from this incident and make sure we're better prepared to defend this kind of attack from the source the next time," he said.

The University of Delaware recently started The Cybersecurity Initiative. Professor Chase Cotton is a part of that initiative.

"For many years it's not been a question of if you are going to attacked by a bad guy, it's when," he said. "Time and time again the industry has proven if someone wants to get at something, they will."

Cotton says any breach is a good reminder to protect your information online. But he doesn't see this particular breach as that serious compared to others.

"Especially at this instant in time. We've got so many other breaches going on that are just about to be announced or have just been announced that are a lot more widespread and impactful for individuals."

Sen. Carper chairs the Senate's committee on homeland security. He says it has approved bills that would go along way to improving the nation's cyber security.

"They're waiting for the full Senate. If they are adopted, I think they'll reduce the potential threat of things like what happened to the federal healthcare website," said Sen. Carper.

People in 36 states use the federal healthcare website to sign up for health coverage. That includes Delaware and Virginia. Maryland has its own state-based system.

The federal healthcare website has been swirling in controversy from the day it opened this past October. At that time it took the federal government months to get the site to a useable state for people wanting insurance. Congressional Republicans jumped on this recent hack as evidence of continued problems with Obamacare.

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