GoDaddy goes down following alleged Anonymous attack

Individual affiliated with notorious hacking group claims responsibility as millions of websites black out.

Internet search

Web hosting firm GoDaddy has reportedly fallen victim to a cyber attack by hacking group Anonymous.

The incident resulted in millions of websites hosted by the firm going offline yesterday evening, as the firm's DNS servers went down.

As a precaution, GoDaddy provisionally redirected its DNS traffic to VeriSign, which also registers domain names as ".com" and ".net".

It posted a short update on Twitter, alerting users to the problem.

"Status Alert: Hey, all. We're aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We're working on it," the company tweeted.

An hour later the firm posted a further update, which read: "Most customer hosted sites back online. We're working out the last few kinks for our site and control centres. No customer data compromised."

The firm did not go into any detail over the cause the problem or say anything about compensation for the affected websites.

Elizabeth Driscoll, vice president of public relations for GoDaddy, said the outage started around 10.25am local time (6.25pm UK time) and the bulk of its services were restored over two hours later.

"At no time was any sensitive customer information, such as credit card data, passwords or names and addresses, compromised," she wrote.

"We will provide an additional update within the next 24 hours. We want to thank our customers for their patience and support."

We want to thank our customers for their patience and support.

A hacker calling themselves Anonymousown3r claimed responsibility for the attack.

The individual affiliates themselves with Anonymous, but others connected to the group said the hacker was acting alone.

"Please redirect your GoDaddy hate to @AnonymousOwn3r [who] says is the 'leader' of Anonymous. #derp Have #lulz with that," said a tweet from @YourAnonNews.

It is thought the hacker took down the sites in protest at GoDaddy's initial support for the US government's proposed Stop Piracy Online Act.

However, GoDaddy reversed its position soon afterwards following massive protests on the internet.

Meanwhile, security industry professionals described the attacks as "nothing new".

Chester Wisniewski of security software company Sophos said there are ways of mitigating DNS attacks.

"It might be a good time to review your critical infrastructure and ask your service providers what capabilities they have to ensure your business stays online if you are targeted or have equipment failures," he advised in a blog post.

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