CAO to investigate cyber attack


The Central Applications Office (CAO) will not investigate the cyber attack which crashed its website for several hours yesterday until after the second round offers are issued next month.

Thousands of applicants were unable to check their first-round course offers until 1pm yesterday after the website was hit by an early morning denial-of-service attack.

The second round offers will be issued on September 2nd.

The website was previously targeted on July 1st, the deadline for change-of-mind applications. On that occasion, the site did not experience the same level of disruption as it did yesterday, and a subsequent investigation was unable to identify the source of the attack.

The CAO said the website is working well today and there has been no fallout from yesterday’s attack.

”At present, the CAO’s priority is to process offers and acceptances on behalf of students," said CAO operations manager Joseph O’Grady.

"We plan to conduct a full investigation into this attack in due course and will continue monitoring the system to ensure continuity of online services. Once we have completed our assessment we will decide how to progress this issue."

The office said yesterday it would start an internal investigation to try and identify the source of the attack, which it confirmed was "malicious". It is understood a decision to report the matter to gardaí will not be taken until after the internal investigation is held.

The type of attack launched against the website yesterday was a denial-of-service attack which is a type of cyber crime which often occurs when criminals or hackers manipulate computers to send multiple page requests to a specific web address, overwhelming it with traffic and preventing it from responding to legitimate users.