CAO website targeted for second time


THE CENTRAL Applications Office (CAO) was forced to shut down its website yesterday after an early-morning cyber attack resulted in new passwords being issued to 22,000 third-level applicants.

Those attempting to access were unable to check their details for more than four hours after the site was targeted for the second time this week.

An interactive part of the website which allows users to renew their passwords was taken offline by the CAO at 9.30am and another section where application details can be checked was closed at 11am.

The site was not fully functional again until shortly after 3pm.

CAO operations manager Joseph O’Grady said a 1am attack on the renew password facility caused the system to issue new account passwords by e-mail to more than 22,000 applicants.

It is not known if the latest attack is related to Monday’s apparent denial-of-service attack which resulted in tens of thousands of applicants being unable to check their first-round course offers for several hours.

Many applicants logged comments on discussion forum saying they had either not received their new password or had received multiple passwords.

In a statement issued yesterday evening, the CAO moved to reassure applicants that their data was secure.

“We closed down the interactive part of the website to investigate what happened and, at this stage, we do not believe that applicant accounts have been accessed or that any data has been changed,” the statement said.

Applicants were advised to use the new passwords.

“The new passwords received from the CAO today are safe and secure and should be used until further notice. CAO will e-mail all applicants new passwords and an update,” the statement said.

As with Monday’s attack, the CAO said the source of the second attack was “unknown” and said it may not be possible to discover where the attacks are coming from “as false internet protocol (IP) addresses are routinely used in such attacks”.

The CAO said it would only investigate Monday’s attack after the second round of third-level offers is issued next month.

It revealed this week that the website was also attacked on July 1st – the deadline for change-of-mind applications.

A subsequent investigation also failed to identify the source of the attack, the office said.

While the CAO said the planned inquiry would be “intern- al”, it said it would work with its service provider to investigate the attacks and would “engage with consultants and the relevant authorities in the coming days”.

“In the meantime, our team will continue to monitor and prevent losses of service on the site,” the statement concluded.

The CAO is responsible for overseeing most third-level applications in Ireland.

  • Those concerned have been advised to call the CAO information line on 091-509800 or e-mail the CAO website,


DETAILS OF the State’s first full-time accredited rowing coaching course have been announced in Limerick.
The one-year course, which begins next month, is being offered as part of the highly successful post-Leaving Cert courses in sports coaching/sports and recreation that have been running at Coláiste Chiaráin in Co Limerick for the past 10 years.

The course will take place primarily at the University of Limerick arena, where students have access to the university’s boat house facilities, including the eight-man indoor rowing tank.

Speaking at the launch of the course, Noel Malone, principal of Coláiste Chiaráin, said he was delighted that such a course was now available to those with a passion for rowing.

As the course is funded by the European Social Fund, there are no tuition fees.

The Central Applications Office process does not apply to this course, and students who have passed the Leaving are eligible to apply.

Further information is available from Coláiste Chiaráin at 061-397700.