Feeds

Hack attack kills thousands of Aussie websites

AFP investigates potential industrial espionage

High performance access to file storage

Thousands of Australian websites have irretrievably lost their data and email files following a malicious security hack on Australian domain registrar and web host Distribute.IT.

The company has been scrambling to save data and get customers back online or moved to safe servers since the security breach occurred over a week ago, but has largely failed to recover data from the affected server’s shared servers.

A technical expert working on the recovery has described the incident as “the largest IT disruption that has ever happened in Australia.” Initial speculation and timing of the incident pointed the finger at hacking group LulzSec. However, a notorious local hacker going by the tag ‘Pseudonym of Evil from efnet’, was subsequently rumoured to be behind it following a defacement message appearing on the company's website. Neither have been confirmed as the culprits.

Distribute.IT continues to work with the Australian Federal Police to trace the architect of the attack but source close to the matter claim that the incident is less hack and more industrial espionage.

Distribute.IT’s posts to customers suggest as much describing the attack as a “deliberate aim at the company and our clients.” The nature and the extent of the malicious attack takes it beyond a pranking style data heist to a new level of systematic destruction.

The offenders not only wiped the servers but all the backup data for every server involved. “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,” the company said in its last blog post.

The net effect is 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,” the company said.

Distribute.IT confirmed that 4,800 domains and accounts could not be moved safely 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.”

The Register understands that other data centre providers such as Melbourne based Micon21 have been trying to help the distressed company move its clients to a safe haven, while the data recovery measures continued. It is unclear whether Distribute.IT can continue trading after the attack or if it will recover as a business. “The overall magnitude of the tragedy and the loss of our information and yours is simply incalculable; and we are distressed by the actions of the parties responsible for this reprehensible act,” the company said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.