SYDNEY Nov 25 International Business Machines
Corp failed in its handling of the A$10 million ($7.4
million) IT contract for Australia's first predominantly online
census, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on
IBM was the lead contractor for the five-yearly Aug. 9
household survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
that went offline the day after four distributed denial of
service attacks that were caused by the website being flooded
"This was not a particularly clever attack or some great
international assault on the census," Turnbull told Melbourne's
3AW radio on Friday.
"IBM had a contract to deal with it and they failed," he
The style of the attack, which occurred through a router in
Singapore, was "common" and "utterly foreseeable," Turnbull
said, although it was not clear who was responsible for it.
An IBM spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday, but the
company apologised last month to an upper house Senate inquiry
over the outage, while also saying that the router was set up by
a subcontractor, Nextgen Networks Pty Ltd.
IBM has since reached a confidential settlement with
Australia for its role in the breach, Australia's minister
responsible for the census, Michael McCormack, said in a
The Senate inquiry heard that IBM failed to test the
Singapore router properly, which was wrongly configured and
became overloaded, causing the website shutdown.
The inquiry's report, released on Thursday, also criticised
the ABS for favouring IBM during the tender process.
"There used to be a saying: 'No-one got fired for buying
IBM'," Turnbull said.
"I can assure you the lessons will be very carefully
learned," he said.
($1 = 1.3501 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Paul Tait)