Saturday, 24 September 2016 08:44

Census 2016: ABS blames IBM for debacle Featured

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics' submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the census debacle has been taken down after it was posted to the official site for submissions.

The submission was listed, along with 37 others, on the official site after submissions to the inquiry closed on 21 September.

In the submission, the ABS laid the blame for the census fiasco squarely at the feet of IBM.

The census was held on 9 August but the website was taken offline at 7.30pm with a distributed denial of service being blamed.

In its submission, the ABS claims there were DDoSs right through the day, commencing at 10.10am.

It claims that after a fourth "attack" at 7.28pm, the system became unavailable to the public.

This attack was inferred as being from overseas but when technicians tried to isolate the website using geoblocking the measure did not work.

"The online census system was hosted by IBM under contract to the ABS and the DDoS attack should not have been able to disrupt the system. Despite extensive planning and preparation by the ABS for the 2016 census this risk was not adequately addressed by IBM and the ABS will be more comprehensive in its management of risk in the future," the submission says.

The ABS has blamed the media for the unexpected volume of calls it received in the run-up to the census, saying that this was due to a "focus on potential of census fines creating a degree of public fear".

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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