IBM apologises for Australian e-census bungle, setting off blame game

SYDNEY International Business Machines Corp said on Tuesday it plans to compensate the Australian government for a “malicious” cyber-attack that shut down a national census, but blamed two domestic internet providers for the security lapse.

IBM was the lead contractor for the five-yearly Aug. 9 household survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which went offline that day after four distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, caused by the website being flooded with clicks.

The breach embarrassed a government which has sought to impress voters with its cybersecurity credentials and plans to trial online elections. The census is already controversial because of privacy concerns.

“I am confident we’ll be able to achieve some kind of outcome in the very near future,” IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director Kerry Purcell told a Senate inquiry into the matter,…

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