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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020

#CAO

From TheJournal.ie Principals want 'CAO-style' admissions for primary and secondary schools Enrolment

Principals want 'CAO-style' admissions for primary and secondary schools

Both primary and secondary schools would have an online ‘preference’ system under the plans from primary principals.

From TheJournal.ie Dept. of Education to overhaul Leaving Cert programme and points race Leaving Cert

Dept. of Education to overhaul Leaving Cert programme and points race

Plans include reducing the number of degree programmes, cutting grade bands and changing the predictability of exams.

From TheJournal.ie The Evening Fix... now with added dancing in speedos Need To Know

The Evening Fix... now with added dancing in speedos

Here are all the things we learned, loved and shared today.

From TheJournal.ie Science, business and agriculture courses increase in CAO popularity Third Level

Science, business and agriculture courses increase in CAO popularity

However teaching, medicine and arts have all dropped.

From TheJournal.ie The 9 at 9: Saturday 9 At 9

The 9 at 9: Saturday

Good morning. Here are the nine stories you need to know as you start your day.

From TheJournal.ie It's CAO deadline day CAO

It's CAO deadline day

A spokesperson for the CAO said although students can still submit late applications, it only applies to some courses.

From TheJournal.ie CAO to give discounts for early online applicants... for 2013 Cao Fees

CAO to give discounts for early online applicants... for 2013

Ninety-eight per cent of college applications were received online by CAO in 2012.

From TheJournal.ie Round 2: over 3,000 applicants receive new offers for college Education

Round 2: over 3,000 applicants receive new offers for college

1,185 applicants have received their first offer from CAO.

From TheJournal.ie Column: The Leaving Cert ‘points race’ is bad – but it’s better than alternatives Opinion

Column: The Leaving Cert ‘points race’ is bad – but it’s better than alternatives

‘Radical’ new proposals for interviews are really a return to the past, writes Joanna Tuffy TD. Instead, we need a much wider debate on third level education.

From TheJournal.ie Trinity scheme to offer college places to students below CAO minimum Points Race

Trinity scheme to offer college places to students below CAO minimum

A pilot programme – intended to begin with Law in 2014 – will see some places reserved for students measured on alternative grounds.

From TheJournal.ie Poll: Should more than just points be considered for entry to college courses? Your Say This post contains a poll

Poll: Should more than just points be considered for entry to college courses?

A new scheme at TCD means students will need personal statements and references from teachers to get into college. Good idea?

From TheJournal.ie Over 21,000 CAO offers accepted online today CAO

Over 21,000 CAO offers accepted online today

That’s 639 more acceptances than at the end of the first day of CAO offers in 2011.

From TheJournal.ie The 5 at 5: Monday Take 5 This post contains videos

The 5 at 5: Monday

5 minutes, 5 stories, 5 o’clock.

From TheJournal.ie Maths and IT courses see biggest surge in CAO points race Points Race

Maths and IT courses see biggest surge in CAO points race

Mathematics and Physics at the University of Limerick saw the highest points surge – up by a whopping 145 points.

From TheJournal.ie CAO offers: the main points CAO

CAO offers: the main points

STEM is the new acronym of the day, standing for the popular-again subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

From TheJournal.ie The 9 at 9: Monday 9 At 9

The 9 at 9: Monday

The nine stories you need to know as you start your day.

From TheJournal.ie Pics: Frustrated students take to Twitter as problems hit CAO website CAO This post contains images

Pics: Frustrated students take to Twitter as problems hit CAO website

One user wrote: “I’ve just had my parents in sitting on my bed as I was rejected by a website. CAO, you’re destroying my family.” Users are being urged to refresh the site if encountering problems.

From TheJournal.ie Do you use what you learn in school... after you leave school? Leaving Cert

Do you use what you learn in school... after you leave school?

The Leaving Cert results have been occupying the minds of over 55,000 students today – TheJournal.ie team reflects on how much of the senior cycle curriculum we go on to use in real life…

From TheJournal.ie Which Leaving Cert subjects produce the most A grades? Leaving Cert

Which Leaving Cert subjects produce the most A grades?

Some subjects produced proportionally more top grades – while others had higher failure rates than most.

From TheJournal.ie Almost 11,000 Leaving Cert students to benefit from bonus Maths points Points Race

Almost 11,000 Leaving Cert students to benefit from bonus Maths points

The college points race begins in earnest on Monday – but already the bonus points project seems to be working.

From TheJournal.ie 'You deserve to celebrate your achievements' - Minister congratulates LC students Congratulations

'You deserve to celebrate your achievements' - Minister congratulates LC students

Leaving Cert results are being issued to over 55,800 students around Ireland today.

From TheJournal.ie The 9 at 9: Monday 9 At 9

The 9 at 9: Monday

The nine stories you need to know this morning.

From TheJournal.ie Fewer students to sit this year's Leaving Cert Leaving Cert

Fewer students to sit this year's Leaving Cert

Over 50,000 students, 13 days, 3.1 million exam papers, 105 subjects. Shudder.

From TheJournal.ie Surge in tuition fees sees major spike in UK CAO applicants Going To College

Surge in tuition fees sees major spike in UK CAO applicants

Rising tuition fees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have seen hundreds more students apply to come to colleges here.

From TheJournal.ie Report expected to make the case for capping places in college Points Race

Report expected to make the case for capping places in college

Ruairí Quinn is set to receive a report outlining the need for student numbers to be capped in order to avoid the return of fees.

From TheJournal.ie The 9 at 9: Wednesday 9 At 9

The 9 at 9: Wednesday

Nine things you should know this morning…

From TheJournal.ie The Daily Fix: Monday The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Monday

The battle for Tripoli rages on, the bishop of Cloyne breaks his silence, Ireland’s latest viral sensation and… can we turn light bulbs into wifi routers?

From TheJournal.ie In numbers: how Ireland's students fared in Leaving Cert 2011 In Numbers

In numbers: how Ireland's students fared in Leaving Cert 2011

Which subjects had the best pass rates? Which had the fewest taking higher level? We’ve crunched the numbers to find out.

From TheJournal.ie Nearly 58,000 students discover their Leaving Certificate results Leaving Cert

Nearly 58,000 students discover their Leaving Certificate results

Anxious moments for students across the country as they find out if they’ve got the points they need…

From TheJournal.ie The 9 at 9: Monday 9 At 9

The 9 at 9: Monday

Nine things you really should know this morning…

From TheJournal.ie High points: Science could be next to offer a bonus to Leaving Cert students Leaving Cert

High points: Science could be next to offer a bonus to Leaving Cert students

The education minister has said that offering extra Leaving Cert points to students who sit Science subjects is a possibility.

From TheJournal.ie The Daily Fix: Monday Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: Monday

Catch up on the day’s news, including: Zuma arrives in Libya for mediation; Prison Inspector criticises investigations into prisoner deaths; and what really happens when you don’t pay your TV licence…

From TheJournal.ie Education minister says the CAO system needs to change Education

Education minister says the CAO system needs to change

Ruairi Quinn says that radical new approaches and more complex entry routes to third level education are needed. He says it is a priority for his department.

From TheJournal.ie The Daily Fix: Tuesday Daily Fix This post contains videos

The Daily Fix: Tuesday

In today’s Fix: dog ownership could be outlawed in Iran; more drivers caught speeding; and Ukraine promised €550m to build Chernobyl reactor containment shell.

From TheJournal.ie 2010 in review: August Review2010 This post contains videos

2010 in review: August

Authorities approve a mosque near Ground Zero, a Chilean mine collapses, and a Coventry woman puts a cat in a wheelie bin.

THE CAO has reopened the ‘My Application‘ part of its website after closing it earlier as part of a reported investigation into Monday’s ‘cyber attack’ that saw the website closed. Some students have been given new passwords to the section, within which they view and accept college offers.

THE COLLEGE APPLICATIONS OFFICE says its website, www.cao.ie, is now back fully online after overcoming a ‘distributed denial of service’ (or DDoS) attack earlier today. The body issued over 48,000 college offers this morning, which students have until Monday to accept.

THE COLLEGE APPLICATIONS OFFICE (CAO) website has been inaccessible since mid-morning, leaving many potential college-goers in the dark as to whether they have been offered a place in third-level education.

But what exactly is going on to the website? What is this “malicious attack from an unknown source“?

Well, reports seem to indicate that the website is suffering from a ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ attack, or DDoS for short. Essentially, this exploits the limited amount of traffic that any web server can handle.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that the computer on which a website lives can handle 100 visitors at a time. This means that only 100 individual users would be able to access a page at once, so if 101 people all simultaneously tried to access the website’s homepage, one of them would be unable to connect to the site – it would simply be unable to respond to all of the requests.

The internet’s answer to overcrowding

In fact, the other 100 users might notice a significant slowdown in the speed of the website, such is the effect. In some cases, the website would seem to entirely lock down. It’s the online equivalent of overcrowding: if a room can fit 100 people, then if more show up, not only can they not get in, but the people in there can’t get out.

Try to imagine a large-scale version of this. If the CAO website can handle – again, taking a figure entirely hypothetically – 3,000 users at a time, then any visitors on top of this simply cannot be catered for. And, naturally enough, the website will slow down – or grind to a total halt – if more people try to visit.

What a DDoS attack does, to be basic, is deliberately flood a target website with requests for pages, to the point where the server is unable to respond to any requests, good or otherwise. Typically the people behind such an attack will use several machines to launch it, so that blocking the traffic from one computer’s individual IP address does not resolve the crisis. It’s possible that some of the machines being used are being hijacked without the knowledge or compliance of their owners.

In essence, unless a website has bucketloads of spare capacity (in which case, it should probably be using some of it all the time anyway) that it can activate, then the sheer volume of requests being received will cause the website to effectively keel over. And, in some cases, adding new capacity will not resolve the problem, because the attackers could alternatively find new machines to launch even more sustained attacks.

When it happens – and when it doesn’t

Major international websites – the likes of Facebook – will receive multiple DDoS attacks a day. They’re simply big enough, however, to absorb the extra hassle without any noticeable slow-down. Even the likes of Boards.ie has said it gets regular attacks, but constantly monitors and counters them as they arise.

The problem with the CAO site, it would seem, is that it’s not generally built to handle quite the level of traffic it’s getting this morning – the bulk of it, you might guess, being maliciously sent.

Therefore the only real tactic a website can use to resolve a DDoS is to try and identify the IP addresses from which the traffic is coming, and then block these addresses from submitting any requests – freeing up space for the genuine web users. The CAO appears to have resolved its problems, however, and looks to be back up and running – a welcome return to action for the 77,628 students hoping for a college offer today.

In the meantime, potential college-goers are reminded that if they’ve been offered a college place, they should also have received a copy of the order via the post – and can also respond to the offer by post.

Those who can’t access their physical post need not worry, either: first round offers can be accepted any time up until next Monday, before offers are withdrawn and reallocated in the Round 2 offers.

THE CAO WEBSITE has gone down due to “malicious attacks from an unknown source”, according to the site.

The CAO said that it is working to restore the service as soon as possible.

Over 77,000 people who applied for a third-level course through the CAO system are expecting to find out today if they have secured a place.

The CAO urged students not to panic if they are unable to access the site, as the deadline for course acceptance is a week away.

The points can also be checked here.