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GCN : June 2013
GCN JUNE 2013 • GCN.COM 11 When the Healthcare.gov website re-launches this month, users may not notice much of a change, but on the back end, there is a lot of open-source magic going on that will make content generation and sharing information more seamless than it is on perhaps any other government site operating today. If all goes according to plan, it could become a roadmap for other agencies looking to increase the quality of con- tent on their own Web pages. Healthcare.gov had been a fairly small hamlet run by the Health & Human Services Department. But it's about to become the main source of informa- tion for the Affordable Health Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, when having health insurance becomes mandatory. States will likely link to the site and use information from it as they try to help people learn about the law and sign them up for affordable health care. In anticipation of this serious growth spurt, a back-end upgrade was neces- sary to make sure that transition goes smoothly. The entire site is being reprogrammed without the need for a content manage- ment system. The CMS servers that power most websites are often the bottleneck that slows them down. If more users are about to access more les, a typical CMS requires bee er servers or even more servers. Healthcare.gov is getting around this by generating most of the new site using the Jekyll content editor, ac- cording to HHS. Jekyll is a directory of templates that is set up with the look and feel of a certain website. Users generating content with Jekyll can cre- ate static pages in just a few minutes. Those pages can then be called up on an Apache or other Web server and are assembled on users' computers when they visit a page. People tasked with generating content for Healthcare.gov are using a program called Prose to create their pages. Prose is a visual interface that makes creating pages within the static system even easier. One reason HHS's new website is important is because all the code and content is on GitHub, a site fostering collaboration and open source software development. This will allow other agen- cies, states and individual developers to collaborate and improve the code. "With the new Heathcare.gov's code available on GitHub, others will be able to reuse the entire code-base as they see t," an HHS of cial posted. "This in- credibly valuable because some states will set up their own state-based health insurance marketplaces. They will be able to easily check out and build upon the work being done at the federal level." • HHS goes open source to build better, more powerful website BY GREG CROWE Government security managers take note: in a recent report, Panda Security estimated over 6.5 million new malware samples were created in the first quarter of this year. Many of those are likely minute variations of each other, yet it's still an astounding number. What is more interesting is that over 80 per- cent of the infections are Trojan Horses. Trojans can't replicate on their own. Unlike worms or most viruses, they are incapable of copying their code to other computers once they find a home. So how did they capture the number one spot in infections? Simple. The people who program them set them up on compromised websites. Users download them, thinking they are some- thing else, like a Java plug-in or a browser helper. Malware infections by type in Q1 2013 79.93% Trojans 2.71% Others 3.98% Adware/Spyware 7.48% Viruses 5.89% Worms Source: PandaLabs