Right Wing DOS Attacks on Healthcare.gov I am shocked!


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Strictly this is home-grown terrorism. In Iran that would earn you a bullet through the head.

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I’d like to see that evidence examined and reported on by a couple more editorial boards. It wouldn’t shock me, but frankly I think simple mismanagement of the development team – and refusal to test properly, and refusal to either aim for being ready early or let the date slip or start with a subset of the eventual feature set – are more than sufficient explanation, and are (alas) business as usual for many contractors.


The evidence is all in the video. Which is of a hearing on the subject. It is slim, really. They have evidence of 16 attacks which are not elucidated, and the ongoing DOS attacks from a program shared on social media sites that the person from DHS says has been ineffective. To hear the republican congressman spin it into a failure of the administration is infuriating.

I will assume you are not speculating about your charges. It comes down to, then, Obama making unwise statements, er, promises about what they could deliver. Considering the forces arrayed against the effort it seems unwise to have even offered the possibility that a website could manage the trouble that would be thrown at it.

If they aren’t collecting evidence about how these problems are being exacerbated by outsiders then they are truly naive, but I doubt that. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg as to what the future will reveal about this whole episode. The question then is does the public have the patience to understand. Swing voters will be listening, though.


For now, I’m classifying it as “never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”.

I’m REALLY annoyed with whoever let it go out the door without proper testing; that handed the opponents a talking point on a silver platter. Ditto with the “you can keep” quote, which should have either been nailed down more securely or explained in more than soundbite form. It’s all fixable… but as you say, the question is going to be whether folks let it get fixed, or whether they succumb to the “don’t even try” noise from the conservatives.

Hate to say it, but Obama’s starting to have a very Jimmy Carter vibe for me. Good man, good ideas, wish he could do more to drive them forward.


This contractor in particular - mismanagement is indeed business as usual. That said, as the leader of America I expect better of Obama - this is your signature legislation, and by not staying on top of the website development/deployment (and all that goes into that) you have really let us, and yourself down Mr. President.

Possibly there is red tape that prevented him from bringing in outside analysts and auditors, but as the POTUS he at the very least has access to the absolute best in councilors and advisors who would bloody well have informed him of the need for testing, audits, etc, as well as the fact that healthcare.gov was always, always, no questions about it, going to be under attack from day one.

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I have to say I think this is a case where Occam’s razor is going to mislead. There is too much at stake and the record is already murky enough without this latest information. With all that you can’t expect the story to be simple or the superficial evidence to tell the whose story.

I hold out that the Administration is waiting until they have concrete evidence before talking about it in public.

But then, my reputation doesn’t depend on people believing I think like an engineer. That is my way of saying I am looking forward to reading about your developing opinion on the subject.

You haven’t seen as much mismanagement of commercial systems as I have, clearly. The folks making the decisions don’t always understand that, in the classic phrase, nine women can’t produce a baby in one month.

And there has already been a clear statement from the tech team that they had the site working more smoothly but then got hit with a last-minute demand for making registration a pre-req for using a lot of the exploration tools. Which would not surprise me at all, and which would indeed have high risks of destabilization.

Having access to the best advice, and realizing that the advice you’re getting isn’t the best and you need to get someone better, are (alas) very different things.

Obama isn’t a project manager. He should have been able to delegate that off. The question is whether the folks he delegated it to, and that they were managing in turn, were (a) competent, and (b) willing to give him bad news. Evidence is no and no.

This is a classic illustration of a mismanaged project, and of the hazards of waterfall development with hard ship dates, and of a number of the other common ways a large software project can go bad. The whole team should be locked in a room until they have read The Mythical Man-Month and probably some books on agile/incremental development and design robustness.

I’m certainly disappointed. More than that, I’m annoyed; the mess was completely avoidable. It happened on Obama’s watch and on his project, so he certainly is the figurehead who takes the blame, just as the CEO of a corporation would be the one who’d have to stand up and apologize if this had been a commercial product. That doesn’t actually mean he, personally, “let us down” – but the team did, and it’s his team.

Again, from what we’ve heard from the developers, I honestly don’t think a DOS attack is needed to account for what we’ve been seeing. I’m not ruling it out, but if that’s really what’s happening I can’t believe that the admins wouldn’t have said so publicly by now. It IS possible to recognize those as distinct from normal usage.

Ok. DOS attack is fine and dandy, but did they even bring it down?

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