So Apparently The Census Website Was Attacked By Hackers Last Night

Many Australians struggled to take part in the first ever online census yesterday evening, as the official website crashed at around 8pm on Tuesday.

Now it’s been revealed that the shutting down of the website was a deliberate move by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a precaution because the website had been attacked by hackers four times.

“It was an attack, and we believe from overseas,” the ABS’s David Kalisch told the ABC. He went on to confirm that the hacks were likely a deliberate attempt to sabotage the census and that the website was taken down after the fourth attack to “ensure the integrity of the data.”

“The online census form was subject to four denial of service attacks yesterday,” he explained. “The first three caused minor disruption, but more than 2 million forms were successfully submitted and safely stored. The scale of the attack, it was quite clear it was malicious.

“Steps have been taken during the night to remedy these issues and I can certainly reassure Australians that the data they provided is safe. The Australian Signals Directorate are investigating, but they did note that it was very difficult to source the attack.”

The ABS has been racing to get the census website back online this morning, but at the time of writing the site was still down. The ABS also announced that there would no longer be fines for failing to complete the census by August 9.

Meanwhile, the site going down so early into the evening yesterday left Senator Nick Xenophon feeling vindicated about his comments calling the government out on its decision to move the census online this year. “Look, there are real concerns,” Senator Xenophon said. “The census, the ABS, has had five years to get this right.”

Enjoy some of the best Twitter responses to the census website crashing yesterday.