Feeds

Google AND Yahoo! hijacked in Ireland after domain namespace grab

Human error or something more sinister?

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google and Yahoo!'s Irish domains were briefly hijacked on Tuesday afternoon, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) has confirmed.

Fraud officers from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation are said to be investigating how malefactors were able to take the websites offline for several hours after mischievously changing both Yahoo.ie and Google.ie's name servers. Both domain names are managed by San Francisco-based registrar MarkMonitor.

In a statement issued to The Register last night, Google failed to mention it had been hijacked. Instead it simply told us:

We are aware that some users are having difficulties accessing www.google.ie and we are working to fix the problem. We apologise to those users experiencing problems and appreciate their patience.

It's understood that the IEDR's chief David Curtin emailed all of the outfit's registrars about the hijack, according to this blog post detailing the sorry affair. Curtin apparently said:

There was an unauthorised access to one registrar’s account [MarkMonitor] which resulted in the change to the DNS nameserver records for the two .ie domains. The IEDR worked with the registrar to ensure that the nameserver records were reset and corrected promptly.

But it remains unclear how such a major and deeply embarrassing breach could have occurred.

Some security experts had suggested that MarkMonitor's console may have been "socially engineered" with a hacker possibly pretending to represent the registrar thereby fooling the IEDR into providing login details to gain access to, and subsequently modify, Google and Yahoo!'s DNS nameservers.

At present, IEDR is displaying a message on its site that reads:

Some of IEDR’s systems are currently unavailable. We apologise for the inconvenience to our customers.

As you may be aware, there was a security incident yesterday [9 October], involving two high profile .ie domains that has warranted further investigation and some precautionary actions on the part of the IEDR.

There was an unauthorised access to a Registrar’s account which resulted in the change to the DNS nameserver records for the two .ie domains. The IEDR worked with the Registrar to ensure that the nameserver records were reset and corrected promptly. Simultaneously, the IEDR commenced an investigation and analysis, with the assistance of external security experts.

It said that security wonks had advised that the IEDR temporarily disrupted its service by closing its external web-based systems to allow for further analysis to take place.

The not-for-profit org added that its Whois service and API remained fully operational and claimed that over two-thirds of .ie domains held by registrars were unaffected by the forced interruption to its service while the probe into the problems continues. It added: "Public access to .ie websites or email is also unaffected."

Sophos security expert Graham Cluley noted on his blog on Tuesday evening that IEDR incorrectly pointed Google and Yahoo! users to nameservers called farahatz.net, which appeared to be based in Indonesia. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms firm here
Is goTenna tech a goer? Time to grill CEO, CTO
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.