This morning officials from both IBM and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have faced Parliament House following a public hearing into the Census Fail. The night of August 9th left millions of Australians frustrated at their keyboards waiting for the website to load however were delayed by almost 40 hours.
Earlier in the week, head statistician at ABS stated that the IBM system should’ve been “robust” enough to withstand the events that took place on August 9.
When managing director of IBM, Kerry Purcell, was questioned on what went wrong he answered,
“In short, the geo-blocking protocol was not properly applied by one of the ISPs.”
Meaning that the system wasn’t able to effectively block out traffic coming from offshore sources therefore compromising data if it was kept alive forcing the company to pull it down temporarily.
In addition to taking responsibility, Purcell offered to pay the Commonwealth back compensation for the incident. There is currently talk of a negotiation for a “commercial settlement” with treasury secretary John Fraser over the financial loss stemming from the night.
Managing Senior Engineer of IBM, Michael Shallcross said that the fourth attack at 7:47pm on August 9th which brought down the Census site, came from Singapore.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Kerry Purcell, managing director of IBM has apologised for the shutdown and has taken full responsibility for the debacle
- The census website was not hacked but rather compromised due to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks which reportedly came from Singapore
- It has been maintained that at no point was there any risk to personal data
- No staff at IBM have been sacked or discipled over the incident
- In addition to the botched census, earlier on this week the ABS was condemned for collecting names on a compulsory basis in this year’s census. With Bill McLennan, an ex staff member of the ABS stating that, asking for names breaks a social trust with the Australian people.
The inquiry continues this afternoon.