ABC News and other news outlets on November 13th reported that the Obamacare website experienced at least 16 cyber attacks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed that one of these attacks attempted to take the entire site down. The attacks took place between November 6th and November 8th, but according to Acting Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Roberta Stempfley of the Office of Cybersecurity and Communications none were successful.
One of the cyber attacks was a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. DDoS attacks oftentimes entail overloading a targeted computer device with so many queries that the system becomes overloaded and thus crashes. This particular DDoS attack was called “Destroy Obama Care,” suggesting – not surprisingly – that the motivations to disrupt and even bring down the site were political in nature.
16 cyber attacks, however, is a small number, considering that most federal websites receive hundreds of cyber assaults on a daily basis.
Stempfley neither elaborated on the nature of the attacks nor described any possible damage caused.