News

Obamacare enrollees encouraged to change passwords over Heartbleed bug

Obamacare enrollees encouraged to change passwords over Heartbleed bug

HEARTBLEED HEADACHE:The warning marks the latest fallout from the widespread security bug, which surfaced this month and allows hackers to steal data online without a trace. Companies from Amazon.com Inc to Google Inc. have been forced to take steps to protect against Heartbleed. Photo: Reuters

By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Americans with accounts on President Barack Obama’s health insurance enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, were advised that their passwords had been reset to guard against the “Heartbleed” bug, in a message posted on the site on Saturday.

The warning marks the latest fallout from the widespread security bug, which surfaced this month and allows hackers to steal data online without a trace. Companies from Amazon.com Inc to Google Inc. have been forced to take steps to protect against Heartbleed.

A message on HealthCare.gov said users who visited the website would need to create a new password to access their accounts.

“While there’s no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers’ passwords out of an abundance of caution,” said the message posted on Saturday.

The Heartbleed security flaw is a “catastrophic bug” believed to affect two out of every three Web servers, according to the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

HealthCare.gov, a health insurance exchange for the 36 states that opted out of creating their own state insurance exchanges, was created under Obama’s signature health care law, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The website’s launch last fall was dogged by complaints that many users could not access the site to buy insurance or research healthcare plan options. Most of the website’s most prominent flaws were eventually remedied.

Obama on Thursday announced in the White House briefing room that 8 million people had signed up by the latest enrollment deadline of April 15. The program’s original goal was 7 million signups by the end of March, which was met.

Republicans have been relentless in their criticism of the healthcare law ahead of November’s congressional elections, when the GOP hopes to reclaim control of the U.S. Senate and strengthen its majority in the House of Representatives.

Critics of Obama’s health initiative have suggested HealthCare.gov might be vulnerable to security flaws.

The Heartbleed bug exploits a glitch in a widely used Web encryption program known as OpenSSL.

It has not affected only corporations.

Canada’s tax-collection agency said this month that the private information of hundreds of people had been compromised as hackers exploited the Heartbleed bug.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Recent Headlines

31 mins ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is finally here

Fresh
10-overlay

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

36 mins ago in National

Making headlines this week

Fresh
A member of the NATO parachute demonstration team lands during a change of command ceremony at NATO military headquarters in Mons, southern Belgium on Wednesday May 4, 2016. U.S. Army General Curtis  M. Scaparrotti was installed as NATO's 18th supreme allied commander Europe (SACEUR). The commander, by tradition an American general or admiral, is responsible for the overall direction and conduct of NATO's global military operations. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

A look back at some of the biggest stories this week and the headlines you may have missed.

39 mins ago in Lifestyle, National

Anti-hunger group uses fake app to fool, educate

Fresh
18-overlay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 14 percent of Americans, or more than 17 million people, are what is called food insecure, meaning at times of the year, they are uncertain of being able to acquire enough food for their household.

4 hours ago in National

Top reason Americans will vote for Trump: ‘To stop Clinton’

trumpREUTERS

The U.S. presidential election may turn out to be one of the world's biggest un-popularity contests.

5 hours ago in Lifestyle

Emma and Noah continue to be tops for baby names

baby

When it comes to baby names, Americans seem to be somewhat united.