Trust Your Registrar? Aussie Registrar and Hosting Company Distribute.IT Loses 4000 Sites and Backups

Jun 21 2011

It’s a nightmare come true for a website owner.  Distribute.IT, an Australian based domain registrar and hosting company recently was hacked leaving all servers down and unrepairable.  But that’s not the bad part. They had no offsite backup.  None. And all their customers data has been breached and lost.  They can’t even get their own website up and have been forced to use a blogspot account to relay information and gmail to email.

They weren’t a huge registrar with only 4800 domains but they also had hundreds of companies and people they provided hosting. Account holders had noticed increased downtime over the last few months which should have given them enough warning to backup their data in case all hell broke loose.  Well it did and I doubt that many people had actually done any kind of back up.

And the response to the ordeal is this

Our Data Recovery teams have been working around the clock in an attempt to recover data from the affected servers shared Servers. At this time, We regret to inform that the data, sites and emails that were hosted on Drought, Hurricane, Blizzard and Cyclone can be considered by all the experts to be unrecoverable. While every effort will be made to continue to gain access to the lost information from those hosting servers, it seems unlikely that any usable data will can be salvaged from these platforms. In assessing the situation, our greatest fears have been confirmed that not only was the production data erased during the attack, but also key backups, snapshots and other information that would allow us to reconstruct these Servers from the remaining data.

We have been advised by the team and the storage & capacity managers that we no longer have sufficient resources within the platform to transfer the 4,800 domains and accounts to other parts of the platform, and at this point we cannot undertake further provisioning of servers & accounts on the current infrastructure. This leaves us little choice but to assist you in any way possible to transfer your hosting and email needs to other hosting providers. We would like to thank those loyal customers who have stuck by us during this difficult time and elected to have their hosting remain on our servers. Your thoughts, consideration and kindness will not be easily forgotten. Much soul-searching and thought has gone into taking this course of action, but at this time we cannot see any alternatives for the affected servers.

In short, we’re screwed,  sorry and we’ll help you try and find a better host. As for the domains?  Nobody has claimed any of them stolen so I would imagine they are all presently in limbo.  If this doesn’t make you want to back up your sites immediately I don’t know what would.

More info on the hacked host here

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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7 comments

  1. Mike

    This post scares the sh*t out of me. It sounds like this is only a tiny player in the hosting space with that small domains hosted #. But you hit the nail on the head – back your sites up!

  2. SL

    @rayy.co: That’s incorrect. CIA.gov was a DDOS, not a hack. Sony and Citi breaches were actual hacks due to security+programming negligence.

  3. theo

    The domain names look fine. I had to move out a few .coms from there last week coz they where about to expire.

    Last week their whois server was down , this week the whois server is up but contains no data so the FOA emails cannot be send out since currently it is not known who the correct registrant is.

    Verisgn cannot help here real shame. But the domain names got renewed so that is atleast something. As soon the whois server contains the data alot of folks willbe moving out.

    Having no backups at another location sounds just unreal to me and shows that it was super bad mistake. I do not have that much super importanted data to backup but the little i have i left at an external drive at my sisters place.

  4. Ed

    What a nightmare! It’s also important to plan where your off site back up is. Remember FTC 9/11… some companies have their off site back up on the other building.

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