After the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) proudly announced that two thirds of Australian citizens could fill out their census forms online for the first time, cybercriminals had a different plan.
The online form was bombarded yesterday with not one but four DoS attacks in just a few hours after it was launched. After the last malicious attack, ABS suspended the form to prevent further attacks and keep citizens’ data safe. As the attacks prevented users from registering and filing in the required information, some 2 million forms were completed. ABS has confirmed the data have been secured and haven’t ended up in the hands of overseas hackers.
With minimum system and browser requirements, security and privacy had been questioned prior to launch, in spite of government assurance that the infrastructure was secure.
“The one thing that is absolutely crystal clear is that there was no penetration of the ABS website,” stated Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “What you saw was the denial of service attack or a denial of service attempt which, as you know, is designed to prevent access to a website as opposed to getting into the server behind it. Some of those defenses failed, frankly.”
As authorities investigate to uncover the culprits, the official responsible for the project, Assistant Treasurer Michael McCormack, denied the hack naming it “an attempt to frustrate the collection of data.”