Leading web domain registrars suffer data breach

Lines of code on a computer screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A host of major domain name sites owned by the web.com brand have asked users to reset their passwords after discovering a breach dating back to August 2019.

Cyber criminals accessed the contact details, including names and addresses, of current and former account holders with web.com as well as its subsidiaries Network Solutions and register.com. No credit card information was compromised, according to a company statement, however, because this data is encrypted.

Unauthorised third-party access was only determined on 16 October, and the company says it took immediate steps to stop the intrusion. The domain name registrar then approached a cyber security firm to probe the scope of the incident, before informing the relevant authorities.

"Our investigation indicates that account information for current and former Web.com customers may have been accessed," the web.com statement said.

"This information includes contact details such as name, address, phone numbers, email address and information about the services that we offer to a given account holder.

"We store credit card numbers in a PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant encryption standard and do not believe your credit card information is vulnerable as a specific result of this incident."

Network Solutions is ranked as the fifth most widely-used domain name registrar in the world, according to domianstate.com, with almost seven million users, while register.com ranks 17th with 1.8 million users.

Web.com's statement did not disclose the number of users affected, although other reports including that published by CISO Mag suggests the hack affected users in the order of 22 million users across all three platforms.

Users are being told they don't need to take any additional steps beyond resetting their passwords the next time they log in to their accounts.

Web.com has also recommended that users regularly change their passwords as well as use a different password for each website they are registered with.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet
Features Editor

Keumars Afifi-Sabet is a writer and editor that specialises in public sector, cyber security, and cloud computing. He first joined ITPro as a staff writer in April 2018 and eventually became its Features Editor. Although a regular contributor to other tech sites in the past, these days you will find Keumars on LiveScience, where he runs its Technology section.