After all the chest thumping and a public game of political dodgeball by Anonymous, it turns out that the whole thing was akin to GoDaddy accidentally tripping over the power cord.
“The service outage was not caused by external influences. It was not a ‘hack’ and it was not a denial of service attack (DDoS),” interim CEO Scott Wagner said in an e-mailed statement. “We have determined the service outage was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.”
A router is a device that takes internet data packets, consults a map of which physical piece of hardware is currently using a given internet address, and uses that to send the data on its way. If a router table is corrupt, data either goes to the wrong place or simply doesn’t go anywhere. Somewhere, something that was supposed to update the router’s table of addresses wrote garbage into the routers instead.
The outage knocked internet services offline for a large number of GoDaddy customers between about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific yesterday.
Anonymous Claims Responsibility While Simultaneously Denying It
GoDaddy went dark today, apparently due to a denial of service attack launched by a person claiming to be a supporter of “Anonymous”, the cybergang being pursued by law enforcement officials all over the planet for similar acts. The alleged attack took out much of GoDaddy, its name servers and many of the web sites belonging to its 10.5 million customers – including, ironically, eBaum’s World, a low-brow internet humor site and known hangout of Anonymous.
“We’re aware of the issues affecting our site,” Elizabeth Driscoll, a GoDaddy spokeswoman, said. “We’re still working to figure out what happened and determine the number of Web sites impacted.”
The person behind the Twitter account @AnonymousOwn3r took responsibility for the outage and said all of GoDaddy’s servers were knocked out with what is known as a distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS attack, in which a site is flooded with traffic until it collapses under the load.
“When I do some DDoS attack, I like to let it down by many days,” the person claiming responsibility said on Twitter. “It can last one hour or one month.”
The person claimed he had conducted the attack on his own and that it was not part of a larger Anonymous anti-internet campaign. GoDaddy had been a target for Anonymous last December for its initial support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a Congressional bill that would have made it possible for copyright owners to seek court orders to take sites offline for practicing or aiding piracy. GoDaddy withdrew its support of the bill after customers began transferring their Web sites to its competitors and hackers threatened to attack it.
But one of the Twitter accounts most frequently associated with Anonymous, @AnonyOps, distanced the group from Monday’s attack and said it was the work of one individual. “He’s either a newbie to activism and cutting his teeth by doing this, which is misguided, or he’s trying to give Anons a bad reputation,” the Twitter post said. It is noted, however, that every time some agent of Anonymous does something illegal or widely unpopular they simply say the attacker “wasn’t really Anonymous”. We also find it interesting that both speakers claim to be in charge.
Rich Miller, the editor in chief of Data Center Knowledge, an online publication that tracks the data center industry, said a shutdown at GoDaddy had widespread repercussions for the Internet.
“This is potentially the largest kind of problem you could have on the Internet,” Mr. Miller said. “GoDaddy is the largest company in the domain industry thanks to its colorful Super Bowl commercials.”
Mr. Miller estimated that GoDaddy managed 52 million domain names and hosted about 5 million Web sites directly on its servers, with the remainder being hosted privately and pointed to by GoDaddy name servers.
The predicted length of the attack seems not to have come to fruition, however, as GoDaddy.com appears already to have recovered.
Anonymous claims members from all walks of life, and has penetrated virtually all online social media and most online gaming services to some degree.