In a revelation that could give Americans pause about their privacy on government-run websites, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked into President Obama’s Twitter account, Facebook page and campaign website.
The “Donate” page on the president’s website was apparently the hacking group’s target. Those who clicked on the page were at least temporarily redirected to the SEA website.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a major supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Several months ago the group took credit for a hack on the New York Post’s Facebook page and Twitter account.
No, the president’s website is not connected to top secret material or a federal agency, but security on the account should be tight enough to protect the integrity of the online accounts. A Tweet by the Syrian Electronic Army after hacking into President Obama’s website and social networking accounts reads:
Obama doesn’t have any ethical issues with spying on the world, so we took it upon ourselves to return the favor. Obama spent so much money ravaging #Syria with terror, he can’t even pay his own bills. Thanks to our operation Twitter now blocks Obama’s dangerous propaganda links. We are watching you, Obama Bin Laden.
The SEA hack was not the only Obama website issue over the weekend. The Obamacare website, also known as the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, was once again plagued with technical issues. Not long after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius proudly proclaimed the website’s data services hub was the sole portion of the Obamacare website that was working properly – it broke.
SEA also posted on Twitter that the group accessed Obama campaign accounts to assess his terrorism capabilities. One of the images posted by the Syrian Electronic Army after hacking into President Obama’s accounts reportedly features a screenshot of political campaign organizer Suzanne Snurpus’ Gmail account. Snurpus and other Obama campaign organizers have reportedly “taken measures to correct” the hack and have added additional layers of protection and changed all their passwords. The source of the security breach has reportedly been traced to a third-party URL shortener.
The key technical malfunction which brought down the Affordable Care Act Marketplace website on Sunday evening was fixed by Monday, but the Obamacare venue is still not properly functioning and allowing Americans to browse health insurance packages.
The data services hub connects the Obamacare website to other databases, including one at the IRS. The networked databases are utilized during the benefits determination process. The Obamacare data services hub problem also negatively impacted state health exchange websites. A total of 14 states and Washington, DC, have set up their own health insurance exchanges, which have been relatively error-free.
CNN Money reports that contractors were paid more than $300 million taxpayer dollars to design the HealthCare.gov website.
But the fact that there are 14 states running their own exchange websites also could pose problems. As previously reported by Off The Grid News, computer security expert John McAfee said that nearly anyone could launch their own fake Obamacare exchange site and garner enough personal information from participants to gain access to their bank accounts.
“Oh, it is seriously bad,” John McAfee said. “Somebody made a grave error, not in designing the program but in simply implementing the web aspect of it. This is going to happen and it’s going to happen very soon. The hacker aspect is only one of the problems. Most people can’t even log onto the system because it’s so complex and error-ridden. Give your Social Security number and date of birth and an hour later someone could empty your bank account. There is no central place where I can go and say, ‘OK, here are all the legitimate brokers and examiners, for all of the states,’ and pick and choose one.”
McAfee criticized the current Healthcare.gov website but said having a central website hub – thereby protecting citizens against false websites – should have been the goal.
“There should be one website, run by the government, you go to that website and then you can click on all the agencies. This is so insane,” he said.
What do you think about the SEA hacking of President Obama’s accounts and the continued problems with the Obamacare website?