Breaking News

Return To News

October 4, 2013

Obamacare Phishing Alert

Security firm McAfee warned Tuesday that hackers are likely to take advantage of the rollout of ObamaCare exchanges by launching phishing attacks aimed at stealing personal information. Phishing attacks are designed to dupe users into revealing credit-card numbers or other confidential data by delivering phony links or attachments in e-mails and messages on social media sites.

"I can say with a high degree of certainty that they will come. We live in a world where people look at compelling events and look to do something malicious. This is just the nature of the beast," said Gary Davis, vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee, which is owned by Intel. Like natural disasters and other major events, consumers searching for information about the new health-care exchanges are likely to be willing to disclose personal information. Given the confusion over the rollout, consumers may also be more easily fooled by deceptive messages claiming to be from the government or health-care providers.

Analytical Assessment

Spear phishers are a relatively new type of cybercriminals who target individuals with personalized e-mail messages in an attempt to pirate confidential information from computers, smartphones and tablets. Spear phishers will definitely take advantage of the high number of people being forced into applying for ObamaCare. Anyone signing up for ObamaCare should be cautious before providing personal information. According to Reuters, 25 of 36 eligible states with Federally-run Affordable Healthcare Act websites posted errors due to the heavy traffic. This is a definite indicator there is potential for spear phishers to "hook" unsuspecting victims.