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MyGov hit with cyberattack as thousands try to access payments

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The website was hit with a denial of service attack, designed to flood the address with users forcing it offline.

The MyGov website has been hit with a crippling cyberattack as thousands of Australians facing unemployment tried to get access and request government payments.

"We suffered a significant server attack this morning. We don't attribute from where attack come from," Government Services Minister Stuart Robert confirmed. 

The website was hit with a denial of service attack, designed to flood the address with users forcing it offline.

"There are significant numbers of systems we have in place to knock that off while allowing users to have time. You can have concurrent users and defeat denial of service attack," Mr Robert said.

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The Government Services Minister also addressed the unprecedented demand for Centrelink services which saw lines of people hundreds of metres long.

Mr Robert asked for people intending to claim jobseeker payments to be patient and said the fastest and most efficient way to apply is online, despite the website being offline.

He said claims made in the coming days will be backdated to today, so "no Australian is disadvantaged".

"I understand the frustration people are experience and we are doing everything we can and again, I would reiterate that the intent to claim process means people don't need to wait now, tomorrow they can lodge their intent to claim and that way people will know their claim will be accepted as of today," Mr Robert said.

"The MyGov system will be online tomorrow. They can put it in today or tomorrow and it is back dated to today so no Australians will be disadvantaged."

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However, when asked about wait times on the Centrelink phone times, Mr Robert said: "we don't give our running commentary on that".

An extra 5,000 extra staff will be employed to help meet Centrelink demand.

Coronavirus: Lines at Centrelink offices

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The lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus saw pubs, licensed clubs and cinemas all close from midday today.

Gyms and casinos also shut while restaurants and cafes are only allowed to provide takeaway service.

Under the government's $66 billion stimulus package announced yesterday, there will be extra payments for job seekers and low-income earners, as well as cash for small businesses to help them keep workers on.

While Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has urged eligible Australians to claim their $1,100 a fortnight JobSeeker payment online, the government's MyGov portal crashed this morning.

Those trying to login were met with an error message.

Many people also opted to go to offices in person today.

Long queues formed at Sydney offices from Burwood and Bondi Junction to Brookvale and Redfern.

There are also lengthy wait times in Melbourne and other offices around the country.

Mr Frydenberg said the government has waived the usual waiting period and the assets test usually in place for payments.

However there is still an income test for claimants.

"People can contact Services Australia, which is effectively Centrelink now," he told Today.

"They will be able to make applications online and obviously if they are going to be able to take what used to be called Newstart, now the JobSeeker payment, that will be made available as quickly as possible.

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"What you've got now, for somebody who is unemployed, with this new JobSeeker coronavirus supplement, and the traditional JobSeeker payment, is at least $1100 or more a fortnight.

"That will make its way into people's pockets if they find themselves in that situation.

"So we are very conscious that people need to still meet the cost of their groceries and other bills, even though they might be still down or they might have lost their job or their hours worked have been reduced.

"At the same time, we're providing unprecedented amounts of incentives to small businesses to actually keep their staff on."

Source: 9News

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