Monday came with a big trouble for GoDaddy or its millions of customers. It appears to be a distributed denial of service attack against the world’s largest domain registrar, GoDaddy’s DNS servers are taken down. With them went an untold number of websites.
The closely held firm, which registers and provides servers for numerous websites, at about 1:35 p.m. Eastern Time sent out a tweet acknowledging that it has been having trouble with its site. Two hours later, it said it had received “so many messages” that it was overwhelmed, and that it was working “feverishly” to resolve its issues as soon as possible.
Around that time, a Twitter account called @AnonymousOwn3r claimed responsibility, tweeting “#tangodown godaddy.com.” GoDaddy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In any case, the incident carried signatures of a string of cyber attacks that took place last year. Hacking targets that summer, which seemed to have kicked off with a breach of Sony‘s Internet-based videogame service known as the PlayStation Network, included Nintendo , the U.S. Senate and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
The group behind the attacks, which called itself Lulz Security, used sailing and military themes while it publicized and joked about its exploits. The group’s website even played the theme from the hit 1970s television show, “The Love Boat.”
Lulz Security also went by the handle “LulzSec.” Lulz is Internet slang for laughs. The group disbanded in June of last year, only to join a larger group within the loosely organized Internet political protest group, Anonymous, known as “AntiSec,” or anti-security. It has since carried out various attacks with similar flair as its predecessor.
Customers are understandably livid that their sites — for many, their entire livelihoods — are on pause. Much of the online anger is currently directed at Anonymous Own3r, the self-proclaimed security leader of Anonymous (to be clear, Anonymous is not taking any responsibility for this attack and Own3r says he is acting solely as himself).
Own3r will likely soon be forgotten. Users will retrieve their websites and mail servers. The real question is, can GoDaddy retrieve its reputation? Beyond simply getting its network back online, the company is going to have to face questions about its customer service, its security infrastructure and its reliability.