Hackers shut down MyGov

Huge queues have formed at Centrelink offices and the government’s myGov website has crashed as people try to access payments to assist in coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

The government claims that the MyGov website crashed due to a “denial of service cyber attack”.

A “denial of service attack” is where hackers flood a website with users, so that the site becomes overloaded, according to an ABC news report.

“It’s the type of attack that was used to bring down the Census website in 2016,” the report said.

Demand for Centrelink and MyGov services soared after the prime minister detailed a second wave of stimulus measures in a $66 billion package on Sunday. 

Long lines had formed outside Centrelink offices as people queued to access the coronavirus payments – despite the social distancing guidelines.

“MyGov is currently unavailable,” read a message on the site. “We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.”

On Sunday, Mr Morrison outlined a range of additional welfare payments.

A cash handout of $750 to 6.5 million pensioners and people on welfare was announced 10 days ago. This will now be supplemented by an extra $750 that will go to around five million people, including pensioners, veterans and Health Care Card holders.

The first payment is to be made on 31 March and the second payment would be made automatically from 13 July.

Government Services Minister Stuart Robert acknowledged the “unprecedented demand” on the MyGov website and said Australians needed to be patient.

“Try logging on later today or even tomorrow,” he said. “MyGov is working, but the best option right now is for people to be patient.”

He said current Centrelink customers did not need to do anything to receive the Economic Support Payment or the coronavirus supplement.

“These will be paid automatically to you if you are on an eligible payment,” he said. “Please do not call or visit Centrelink unless you have urgent business.”

Mr Morrison said that Services Australia, which runs Centrelink, would recruit up to 5000 extra staff members to handle the surge in demand.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese says the government must quickly clarify which sectors are eligible for the new payments.

“I watched that media conference last night [Sunday] and I thought it was as clear as mud,” he told ABC Radio.

Are you clear on what stimulus package measures you can expect? And when?

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Written by Janelle Ward


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