New DoS attack directed at Healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov can't catch a break.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Healthcare.gov has been plagued with problems since launching on October 1, and given how widely reported its vulnerabilities are, it's should come as no surprise that hackers are tapping into them.

Security software provider Arbor Networks pinpointed a new denial-of-service attack on the federal online healthcare exchange site.

But before things get out of control (more so than they already are), it should be immediately noted that Arbor researchers posited in a blog post on Thursday that this particular attack is "unlikely to succeed in affecting the availability of the healthcare.gov site."

Regardless, the report suggests that the DoS attack could be making the site inaccessible to some visitors trying to access "https://www.healthcare.gov" and "https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us."

Of course, that could also be attributed to the infrastructure of the website to begin with. But Marc Eisenbarth, a research manager for Arbor Security Engineering and Response Team, pointed toward political motivations behind this attack, which is gaining awareness via social media.

ASERT has no information on the active use of this software. ASERT has seen site specific denial of service tools in the past related to topics of social or political interest. This application continues a trend ASERT is seeing with denial of service attacks being used as a means of retaliation against a policy, legal rulings or government actions.

Arbor also noted in its report that it hasn't seen any more "significant" DoS attacks on the federal website yet either.

Screenshot via Arbor Networks

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