Hackers to take the blame for Census?

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says that the 2016 online census form was subject to “four Denial of Service attacks,” which prompted the ABS to shut down its Census website as a security precaution on Tuesday night. Read the ABS’s media release here.

While the ABS maintains that 2 million forms were successfully submitted and safely stored, thousands of Australians were prevented from taking part in the Census due to the website crash. The ABS has revealed that it believes that the attacks came from overseas and were a deliberate attempt to sabotage the census. However, we are wondering if the entire Australian population accessing the website at the same time might look like a Denial of Service attack in its own right! If ever a system should have been robust enough to cope with such an attack it was this one.

Attorney-General George Brandis has stated that the security measures in place were “more than sufficient to protect individual privacy” and that “the cyber security operations centre has been engaged overnight…and is investigating the matter.”

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