Home Affairs and Immigration websites hit by denial-of-service cyber attacks

Home Affairs and Immigration websites hit by denial-of-service cyber attacks
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

The Department of Home Affairs said it was first made aware of the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack overnight and an investigation had been launched.

A DDoS attack is when someone attempts to disrupt other people’s ability to access a server, service or network — typically by overloading it with requests. And the attacks are becoming increasingly common.

In this case, the Home Affairs website, which includes pages where people can lodge visa applications online, was not available for the public to access.

In a statement, the department said the attack meant people were “briefly prevented” from access the website and online portals overnight.

However callers to the ABC said they were still having trouble on Friday afternoon, due to intermittent performance issues as a result of the incident.

The department confirmed that no personal information had been stolen.

“No departmental holdings, including personal or sensitive information, were accessed by the threat actor,” the statement said.

“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is under way, but initial assessments indicate that the DDoS attack was solely designed to prevent access to our websites.”

Greens senator David Shoebridge said Home Affairs was meant to be the lead agency on cybersecurity.

“The fact that their website can be shut down so readily is disturbing,” he said.

“We’ve seen billions of dollars invested by the federal government and so far very few readily identifiable cybersecurity gains.

“Today’s website shutdown is further proof of that.”


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