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Census 2016: Australians still waiting to complete national survey

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Census 2016: Australians still waiting to complete national survey

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised “heads will roll” over the Census fiasco which left millions of people unable to complete the national survey online.

Speaking on 2GB radio this morning, the PM admitted there were “serious failures” with the Census, which was conducted on an opt-out online basis for the first time by the Australia Bureau of Statistics.

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The site, which was taken down on Tuesday night leaving millions of Australians fuming, remains out of action more than 36 hours later.

The ABS shut down the site at 8.15pm after suffering four “denial of service” attacks with the government moving quickly to assure people their data was safe.

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However, Mr Turnbull stopped short of saying whether anyone would be sacked over the fiasco and instead foreshadowed “very serious consequences”.

“My calm demeanour on your radio program is disguising the fact … that I too am very angry about this. I am bitterly disappointed about this,” he told 2GB this morning.

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The PM said denial-of-service attacks were “absolutely commonplace, highly predictable” and inevitably going to happen to the Census website.

But he admitted measures should have been in place to prevent such attacks interfering with access to the website.
The failure of prevention measures were compounded by hardware problems, he said — pointing to “big issues” for the ABS and IBM — which was contracted to carry out the census.

But he admitted measures should have been in place to prevent such attacks interfering with access to the website.

The failure of prevention measures were compounded by hardware problems, he said — pointing to “big issues” for the ABS and IBM — which was contracted to carry out the census.

Mr Turnbull said he hoped the site would be back up and running by today as a review was undertaken by the government’s cybersecurity adviser, Alistair MacGibbon.

“The review and which heads will roll where and when is something that will follow,” he said.

As Australians were yesterday asking what went wrong, the government moved to reassure people that no data was compromised.

Mr Turnbull also encouraged Australians to take part in the crucial survey.

The ABS is yet to confirm when the website will be back online.

However a spokesman for Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, who is in charge of the Census, told news.com.au it was expected to come back online today.

More than 20 million people are yet to complete the compulsory survey.

COMPUTER SAYS ‘NO’

Census Australia tweeted last night that it had published an update on its website and work was being done to restore the service.

It later tweeted the site was still down and another update would be forthcoming today.

Those who try and log onto the site from mobile devices this morning receive a message saying try again in 15 minutes.

In the latest update on its site, the ABS said the site had suffered four “denial of service” attacks which led to the closure of the site as a precaution.

The language is in sharp contrast to yesterday when it clearly called them “attacks”.

The ABS cited foreign hackers as being responsible for the crash, however Mr McCormack contradicted this and claimed the crash was not due to an attack or a hack.

“This was not an attack, nor was it a hack,” Mr McCormack said.

His claim came hours after ABS Chief Statistician David Kalisch called the events leading up the shutdown as “malicious” and “an attack”.

Both the government and ABS confirmed no data has been compromised or lost and moved to reassure Australians their information was secure.

The website crash happened on Tuesday night as most Australians sat down to try and log on.

Just after 7.30pm on Tuesday, a number of events sparked the crash.

The ABS said these included a large increase in online traffic, a router becoming overloaded, leading to a hardware failure, a fourth “denial of service” attempt, meaning a user was denied access to the website and a false alarm in some system monitoring information.

“Had these events occurred in isolation, the online system would have been maintained,” the statement read.

More than two million forms had been successfully submitted and stored before the website crashed.

Australians have until September 23 to complete the survey.

However that appears to be little consolation for those still waiting to log on.

Online Source

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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