Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says the reason for the failure of the nation's census is that systems put in place by IBM did not include adequate protection against denial of service (DoS) attacks.
In an interview with conservative radio personality Alan Jones, embedded below, Turnbull said “My advice is that the cause of this has been that measures that ought to have been in place to prevent denial of service attacks were not put in place.”
Elsewhere in the interview the prime minister said, “There is no doubt there were serious failures in the system's preparation for an entirely predictable denial of service attack.”
“They worked because of failures in systems put in place by IBM and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).”
“There are clearly very big issues for IBM” he added, because DoS attacks “were completely predictable and should have been repelled.”
The Register has attempted to contact IBM, locally and at its US headquarters, for 36 hours. The only reply we have received was to refer us to different people inside IBM, who have also not answered questions.
Turnbull was at pains to say that the advice he's received from the ABS and sigint agency the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) suggests no data was exfiltrated from the census site. He also said the ABS and IBM took down the site as a precaution, rather than the census being taken offline by a DoS attack.
The ASD, he added, “have been into this very deeply now and know exactly what has happened.”
Sadly the PM didn't reveal their findings.
He also started to hint at firings. “My prediction is that there will be some very serious consequences,” he said.
“Lots of people are trying to find out who to blame and what heads should roll.” Decisions on “which heads will roll, where and when” will follow reviews of the debacle. ®