GoDaddy may be particularly associated with provocative advertisements, but the web hosting company and Internet domain registrar is now known for a rash of outages Monday that impacted thousands if not millions of websites.
The sites went down for several hours, which spelled trouble for small businesses and other companies that make use of the GoDaddy service.
A Twitter account associated with the so-called Anonymous group claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We are experiencing problems,” wrote CEO Scott Wagner. “We understand this is impacting some customers, and we take this situation very seriously. Everyone at GoDaddy.com is working to restore all sites affected by this outage as soon as possible.”
According to company spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll, the outages began at around 1:25 pm EST. By about 5:43 pm EST, service had resumed to the GoDaddy website and the “bulk of its customers.” The hosting company claimed that there was no loss of sensitive information and asserted that they were looking into the cause.
GoDaddy is the host to more than five million websites, most of which are for small businesses.
According to reports, GoDaddy drew the attention of hacker groups after publicly supporting anti-piracy legislation. A proposed “Boycott Go Daddy Day” was put in motion in December of 2011 and a number of high profile web users, including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, threatened to leave the service. After receiving backlash from consumers, the hosting company withdrew support for the bill.
The Twitter account @AnonymousOwn3r claimed to have taken down the GoDaddy sites through a denial of service attack, which floods a site with traffic until it breaks under the pressure. It is among the most elementary but effective tools in the hacker arsenal.
The alleged hacker said that he or she had conducted the attack alone, adding that it was not part of a broader campaign by the Anonymous collective.
There’s no telling the impact of Monday’s attack in terms of dollars and cents, but one has to imagine that companies relying on their web sites for orders or business would certainly not be pleased with the outages. Companies rely on email servers and website contact forms to do business, so any loss of service can be significant with respect to the bottom line.