The Obama Administration's handling of cyber and data security was recently brought into question due to two distinct security incidents. On the same day that a former Administration official received a subpoena related to the security of a government-run website, it was confirmed that hackers had targeted an unclassified computer network used by senior White House staff.
On Tuesday, October 28, House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Paul Broun (R-GA) issued a subpoena to former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. The subpoena compels Mr. Park to appear before the Subcommittee on Oversight to answer questions regarding his role in developing and evaluating the operations and security of HealthCare.gov, the website set up for the federal health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. Recently, it was reported that HealthCare.gov had been hacked back in July 2014. Federal officials confirmed that hackers broke into part of the website and were able to upload malicious software. However, no evidence was found that consumers' personal data were taken.
In a press release announcing the subpoena, Chairman Smith stated that he is compelling Mr. Park’s testimony because the American people “deserve to know their personal information on HealthCare.gov is absolutely secure.” Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Broun said he hopes they can “get to the bottom of the abject failures of HealthCare.gov and ensure these security breaches do not occur again.” The hearing is scheduled for November 19.
On October 28, it was also reported that a White House network had similarly been the target of a data breach. The breach was discovered two to three weeks ago. Administration officials said that the attacks did not damage any of their systems, although they did result in some temporary disruptions in service.
Administration officials are not commenting on who is behind the attacks, but several press reports indicate that hackers working for the Russian government are suspected to be involved. A White House official told the Washington Post: “Certainly, a variety of actors find our networks to be attractive targets and seek access to sensitive information. We are still assessing the activity of concern.”