Hackers, even the ones with minimal “hacking” skills, sought a boatload of opportunities when the Obamacare online platform faced glitches. The media coverage, propaganda and the original website’s shortcomings gave way to more than 700 fake Obamacare websites.
As of the last month analysis, the number of these websites has increased to more than 1,000. They are cashing off on Healthcare.Gov and a variety of ‘Obamacare’ related domain names. On the other hand, numerous unsuspecting online visitors in genuine need of aid packages mistakenly handed over their personal information to those fake domains.
Thanks to yesterday’s (and older) TV broadcasts, the awareness factor related to these websites is increasing gradually. One such fake website is known as Obama-care.us; they call themselves “the Obamacare enrollment team.” Online visitors are redirected to a special page with an “Obamacare Enrollment Form”; an attempt to lure them into giving up their personal information.
More than 3,000 people have been affected by the so-called Obamacare enrollment program. An identification check revealed that this particular domain name was registered on Sept. 2, 2013, right in the middle of the official healthcare websites launch event. Same goes for the rest of those fake websites whenever a Who.is domain information check is run against them.
Cyber Squatting or the Administration’s Shortcomings?
The process of setting up websites with names identical to high profile domains, public figures and etc. is called Cyber squatting. It is an age old and quite common tradition in the hacker community. Private businesses, competitors, people with shady marketing tools for their personal businesses and ad networks with a shortcut based approach use this tactic to retrieve end user information.
Particularly when we talk about the Healthcare and Obamacare online network, probably the fake websites would not have existed if the official platforms worked as advertised. More likely, there was a probability that the overall number of Obamacare Cybersquatters would have been small if the official network didn’t run into technical glitches.
According to a cyber security analyst, “Obama-care.us is so well deceptively designed (and probably works 100% as compared to the official website) that I had to research the owner to verify that it wasn’t a government site. It is owned and managed by a company named ‘Property Systems of Georgia’ – and they own 167 other similar websites.”
Likewise, the fake Healthcare.Com network receives more than 30% online traffic. Users are required to properly research the authenticity of these fake networks. However, not everyone can have the tool, the resources, or more importantly, the skills to authenticate these networks. What about people who are looking for Obamacare aid, or Healthcare packages, but don’t have the tech related know-how?
McAfee respondents said that any number of hackers can put up a fake health care website. After all, it is health care, a place where an unsuspecting user is going to answer the most intimate questions sometimes. Please raise awareness about fake Obamacare and Health care network within your community to help people at individual level.