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HealthCare.gov is getting a cybersecurity upgrade

The launch of Healthcare.gov, the US government’s health insurance website, was beset with technical problems so severe that only six people were able to enroll on its first day in October 2013. Ahead of a second enrollment period, beginning on November 15th, government officials are launching cyberattacks against the revamped site to make sure the same crippling bugs and security holes don’t appear again.

Officials say HealthCare.gov has gotten cybersecurity upgrades ahead of a Nov. 15 start for the second open enrollment season under President Barack Obama’s health care law. Andy Slavitt oversees the complex technology. Slavitt says the facility that hosts HealthCare.gov is now certified to meet rigorous government standards for cloud computing. Cloud operations use large networks of machines in different locations to handle data. HealthCare.gov is also conducting daily security scans and weekly so-called “white-hat” hacking attempts that simulate real attacks. The Homeland Security department is also helping to bolster HealthCare.gov’s detection and defense capabilities. The federal marketplace for subsidized private health insurance will serve 37 states this year. Cybersecurity is also getting scrutiny from critics. Last year’s chaotic debut of the program did not allow time to complete security testing.

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