GoDaddy and its customers start recovery from massive service disruption

Email, the GoDaddy website, and some customer websites go down after an attack on GoDaddy is made, allegedly by a lone hacker.

GoDaddy, the largest registrar of Internet domains and host to some 5 million websites, starter to recover Monday afternoon from a service disruption that may have disabled countless websites across the Internet.

The disruption started at about 1 p.m. EDT. Service to the company's website was restored shortly at 5:50 p.m. EDT, according to the Washington Post.

GoDaddy customers who found their websites suddenly going black heard this greeting when they sought answers from the company:

"We're aware of an issue affecting several services, including email, our website, and some customer websites," the GoDaddy recording said. "We understand your frustration and we want you to know that our team is investigating the source of the issue and is working to resolve it as quickly as possible."

GoDaddy kept its customers posted on the progress it's making on full restoration of service through its Twitter account.

Phone calls, emails and text messages from PCWorld asking for details on the outage went unanswered by GoDaddy. However, GoDaddy spokesperson Elizabeth Driscoll told the Los Angeles Times: "GoDaddy did experience some intermittent outages, and it impacted our site and some customer sites. We're working to restore all services. Some are already back online."

She estimated that the disruption may have affected "millions" of websites.

Hard to Determine How Many Affected

What makes the damage from the disruption difficult to assess is that, in addition to hosting websites, GoDaddy also registers domain names. Those domains, which exceed 50 million, could have also been affected by the outage.

Meanwhile, someone with the Twitter handle @AnonymousOwn3r claimed to be behind the disruption that may have affected millions of websites. The putative hacker declared on Twitter that he is a sole actor in the outage. "Tell the people to not understand wrong," he wrote. "The attack is coming only from me."

According to the hacker, he launched his attack on GoDaddy "to test how the cyber security is safe" and for reasons he wouldn't talk about.

Asked by his Twitter followers how long he intended to prolong the assault on GoDaddy, the hacker responded, "It can last one hour or one month."

The Affected Speak

Some of GoDaddy's small-business clients expressed displeasure at the hacker's action on his Twitter stream.

"You got your press, now put it back so we can get back to work," complained Charter Marketing.

"Pissed and impressed at the same time," added MinuteWomen HomeCare. "BTW, two of my sites are down."

Fashion blog Au Courant Daily told its Twitter followers that it was unable to publish an online issue on Monday, in the midst of New York Fashion Week coverage, because of the outage.

And Fargo Weather, a PCWorld Facebook Friend, asked: "My website seems fine but my email through google apps is coming in hours late. I run the MX records for the email through godaddy's dns manager. Does this sound like it would be an issue with Godaddy DNS?"

Follow freelance technology writer John P. Mello Jr. and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

Caitlin McGarry contributed to this article.

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