On Monday the MyGov website was unavailable to many Australians seeking information regarding new coronavirus government benefits. Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, originally identified the crash incorrectly as DDoS attack, but has now admitted to a lack of preparation being the real culprit.
MyGov has been under starain due to the second coronavirus stimulus package that was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday night. This includes a $550 a fortnight welfare payment for Jobseekers over the next six months.
Robert initially retracted the term 'attack' during Question Time on Monday afternoon, but continued to refer to site issues as DDoS related. The minister didn't seem to understand that a server failure and DDoS are not the same thing.
The minister backflipped on his original statements even further during an interview with Alan Jones on Tuesday morning.
The Australian government has been keen to throw the term 'DDoS Attack' around when its online services fail. We saw this during the 2016 Census and it's being used now to explain the MyGov website going down after the Prime Minister announced a coronavirus payment for Jobseekers. So what exactly is the difference between a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, and a site or service unable to handle the load?
"I probably should have waited for the investigation before jumping the gun," said Robert on 2GB.
The minister also admitted to not realising that the closure of thousands of businesses around the country could result in up to a million Australians potentially requiring benefits.
"We prepared, over the weekend, for 55,000 I didn’t think I’d have to prepare for 100,000 concurrent users."
"My bad not realising the sheer scale of the decision on Sunday night by national leaders that literally saw hundreds of thousands, maybe a million, people unemployed overnight."
This underestimation of online service requirements has come at a time where the federal and state governments are urging people to stay at home and social distance as much as possible.
According to social media reports, some people were still having trouble accessing MyGov on Tuesday.