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IBM Apologizes For Australian Census Shutdown

By Luis Fran , Oct 25, 2016 06:18 PM EDT
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International Business Machines Corp (IBM) apologized to Australia on Tuesday, after it explained that the shutdown of the Australian government´s census website this year - blamed on a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack- could have been prevented if it had switched a router off and on again.

The Australian Government Is Embarrassed

According to Reuters, the breach was an humiliation to the government, considering that that it made a huge and millionaire effort to impress voters with its cybersecurity credentials. In fact, the company -which was awarded a $9.6 million contract to host the online Australian census in August- was called to provide evidence to a Senate committee inquiry, and IBM Australia and New Zealand Maning Director Kerry Purcell apologized for the inconvenience, explaining that the firm would do things different if the situation repeats.

"If we had our time again we would have tested a hard power it off, power it on that router, that would have discovered earlier that we had that reboot and configuration loading problem.We did, during the lead-up to the census, test the impact of a failure of that router and ensure that a fail of the mechanism through the rest of the site worked effectively. We tested that router failure by simulating it, which is relatively easy to do in repeatable fashion," Purcell told.

Financial Compensation For The Australian Census Incident?

According to the International Business Times, Purcell also said that IBM is negotiating a financial compensation because of the Australian census issue with Treasury chief John Fraser. The only good news about the cyber strike, was that no citizen data was compromised, neither was any other sensitive information, according to the Government.

"The one thing that is absolutely crystal clear is that there was no penetration of the ABS website. 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, " Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull explained.

Although the Australian census incident was unexpected, this nation has been frequently targeted in cyber strikes, just as the attempted hacking of the weather bureau last December.

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