GoDaddy admits it fell victim to data breach in October

Web hosting giant GoDaddy has informed customers of a security incident involving an unauthorised third-party who may have had access to users’ login information used to connect SSH to their hosting account.

The SSH protocol, also known as Secure Shell, is a method for secure remote login from one computer to another. It provides serval alternative options for strong authentication, and protects the communications security and integrity with strong encryption.

GoDaddy reported the data breach to Californian regulators after learning that an unauthorised individual was able to access SSH accounts used in its hosting environment in October 2019.

GoDaddy said it identified suspicious activity on a subset of its servers and began investigating. This process found that an unauthorised individual had access to login information used to connect to SSH on users’ hosting accounts.

Although the investigation regarding the potential impact of the breach is ongoing, there’s so far no evidence that any files were modified on users’ accounts. Moreover, the unauthorised individual has been blocked from GoDaddy systems.

“This incident is limited in scope to your hosting account,” the firm’s Demetrius Comes wrote. “Your main customer account and the information stored within your customer account was not accessible by this threat actor.”

GoDaddy has apologised to its customers for any inconvenience this may have caused, and is offering a full year of Website Security Deluxe and Express Malware Removal at no cost.

“These services run scans on your website to identify and alert you of any potential security vulnerabilities,” Comes added. “With this service, if a problem arises, there is a special way to contact our security team and they will be there to help.”

GoDaddy is the leading web hosting provider, according to Datanyze, with a 16.6% market share and more than 1.4 million registered domains, followed by UnitedLayer and Amazon Web Services (AWS) web hosting.

The service also encountered a security issue in January last year, regarding a vulnerability in the way it handles domain name server (DNS) change requests. According to a cyber security researcher, the flaw allowed hackers to hijack domains and create two disruptive spam email campaigns.

Keumars Afifi-Sabet

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.