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Fasthosts has announced that "a number" of its customers'* FTP spaces were raided as a result of the major hack that triggered a police investigation last month. It has applied a system-wide reset of thousands of passwords as a result.

The Gloucester-based webhosting firm yesterday performed the emergency reset of control panel, PCP, FTP and SQL passwords that were not changed by customers when the intrusion was revealed.

An email sent to customers said:

Today we have been made aware that a small number of our customers who did not change their passwords have experienced a compromise to their FTP space.

As a result, in order to totally protect all of our and your customers, we have today implemented an automatic password change.

If you have already changed your control panel password, you will still need to go into your control panel and change ALL the FTP, SQL and email passwords associated with your accounts that haven’t already been changed.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER SHOULD YOU TRY TO REUSE ANY OF YOUR OLD PASSWORDS

The firm is sending replacement passwords out via Royal Mail, it says. A Fasthosts statement described the move as a "precautionary measure".

All email passwords that were not changed will also be reset on 9/10 December.

We've been bombarded by emails from angry webmasters who say no warning was given ahead of the reset, shutting down hundreds of websites.

Reader Mike's reaction is typical. He wrote: "The password was changed after 6.10pm last night which is ridiculous. If I was going to do the password change this way, I would have at least chosen to do it on a Monday so that there was a chance of the letter being delivered on Tuesday or Wednesday."

Kevin said he changed the passwords Fasthosts told him to when the attack came to light. At 11.15pm last night he wrote: "They even provided me with a list which consisted of three FTP and my main Control Panel password – I changed them immediately.

"At 10.35pm I got an email from Fasthosts telling me that they have reset four SQL Server Database passwords and all of my FTP passwords.

"The resetting of all of my passwords coincides with FTP experiencing problems. I am stuck staring at the System Status screen waiting for FTP to come back up so I can alter the passwords - all before tomorrow morning when my clients all scream at me because their online businesses are down during the busy Christmas period!"

Fasthosts said: "Fasthosts considers that its practices and procedures are up to date, and represent good practice in continually protecting the security of its customer data.

"We apologise to those customers affected for any inconvenience caused during the issuing of new passwords."

Reports say Fasthosts' support lines are continually engaged, so feel free to share your views below. ®

*We've asked for clarification on this, and we'll update you if we get an answer.

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