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Hacker hits web site host for millions

Published: September 11, 2012 | 7:05 am
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September 10, 2012
GoDaddy.com shut down for hours after cyberattack

An outage tied to the world’s largest website host and domain name registrar snarled business in Grand Junction and beyond Monday.

Potentially millions of websites hosted by GoDaddy.com were down for hours Monday before service gradually began returning to some sites mid-afternoon. A hacker allegedly affiliated with the notorious group “Anonymous” claimed responsibility for the outage on Twitter.com, but another Twitter account associated with the group disputed the claim.

Lindsey Barnes, a tasting room associate at Meadery of the Rockies in Palisade, said the meadery’s site as well as associated sites for Talon Winery and St. Kathryn Cellars were down Monday. The vintners also lost access to email provided by GoDaddy.com, making email shipping orders temporarily non-accessible.

“Now everything has to be done on the phone,” Barnes said.

Email and website service was restored for the wineries by 4 p.m. Monday, as well as for other local companies who temporarily lost service, including Hilltop, Atlasta Solar, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and the ticket-selling site for this weekend’s Colorado Mountain Winefest. Michelle Walker, Rocky Mountain Health Plans director of sales administration, said the health insurance-provider first noticed the problem at 8 a.m. Monday. The business has price-quoting tools on sites hosted by GoDaddy.com that the company’s insurance agents were unable to access during the outage. Sales and support team employees had to feed agents the data they needed over the phone throughout the day and answer customer questions with information that otherwise would have been available on Rocky Mountain Health Plans’ site.

“This is a situation that is very rare, but when things like this do occur you think twice about having backups in place and that will be discussed for sure,” Walker said.

Sites like GoDaddy.com that offer domain names and email service aren’t foolproof. But Chuck Pabst, president of Information Technology Solutions in Grand Junction, still trusts them more than self-hosted servers or sites and email accounts hosted by separate servers.

“The more complicated your communications, the more likely you are to have failure. If you consolidate into one service provider, maybe one day out of every five years something happens,” Pabst said.

When something does happen like Monday’s outage, Pabst said there’s not much a person can do on a local level because the problem was with GoDaddy.com’s main servers.

“You just have to ride it out,” he said.

The Associated Press

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