Network Solutions Loses Customers Over Outage
July 19, 2013 by Rachel King
Some customers are switching to new providers after their websites were knocked offline for several hours, Wednesday, due to an outage at Network Solutions LLC, a subsidiary of Web.com Group Inc.
The outage, which left many small and medium-sized companies without a website or email, was caused by a cyber attack similar in type to the ones that have impacted banking websites. Some customers who use Network Solutions’ domain name hosting services were impacted for the second time within a month. A Network Solutions spokesman said in a statement, “Cybercrime is a persistent threat in today’s world and, despite best efforts, no business is immune.”
Late yesterday, one of those customers, Brightidea Inc., said it switched to Dyn, another domain name hosting provider. “It’s important that our customers know that we take these things seriously,” Matthew Greeley, founder of Brightidea, told CIO Journal. Several Brightidea customers, who were unable to access its cloud-based collaboration service for innovation programs, contacted the company. This is the second time within a month that an outage at Network Solutions impacted the company, he said.
The outage was “like going into a meeting and saying ‘stop brainstorming,’” said Mr. Greeley. The Brightidea service is used by corporate customers includingChevron Corp., BT Group, Cisco Systems, Inc., Bayer AG, and Panasonic Corp. “Somehow that’s not our brand promise,” he said.
Network Solutions’ outage was caused by a so-called distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack, a common cyber-attack method where compromised systems are hijacked to flood a target with traffic. The attack prevented users from accessing web services hosted by Network Solutions, including domain name system services. The motive in these attacks wasn’t clear but they can happen to anyone.
Domain name system (DNS) services translate domain names into IP addresses when users type a website address into a browser.
“The Internet is a volatile place with the global DNS being one of its most targeted, fragile, under-appreciated and poorly understood protocols,” said Kyle York, Dyn Chief Revenue Officer, in an email message. He added that, “while we’ve gotten a few dozen opportunities and saw an uptick in self sign-up, which is very typical for this type of event, this is not how we like getting new business.”
Another of Dyn’s new clients is Boston-based Osbon Capital Management, which was also knocked offline yesterday. “We launched a new website on Monday and thought it was our new hosting provider but it was our old DNS provider,” said Max Osbon, partner at Osbon Capital. He said that the company had experienced several outages with Network Solutions over the past few years.
The length of the outage was unusual, particularly for a DNS hosting service said one web developer. “It’s just something that usually works, there aren’t a lot of points of failure,” said Todd Zeigler, CEO of the Brick Factory. Four of Mr. Zeigler’s clients were impacted by the outage and one will likely switch providers. “They were all really annoyed,” he said.