This article originally appeared in SC Magazine on December 9, 2019.
Two days after alerting customers in the wake of what some believed might have been a cyberattack, at least 20 web hosting providers have shut their doors and plan to wipe their servers.
The providers, which include ArkaHosting, Bigfoot Servers, DCNHost, n3Servers, StrongHosting and MegaZone Hosting, are all are low-end server operations that appear to be owned by the same multinational organization or affiliate network, according to a ZDNet report.
“Over the past few months we have been met with many challenges within the hosting business. Some that have not been overcome,” the notifications from the virtual private server (VSP) providers to their customers read. “We are taking this time to let our customers know [about the shutdown] so that they may back up and retrieve all of their data before then.” According to the report, many customers have expressed concern that they haven’t received any word on refunds.
“These fly-by-night virtual private server providers have made off not only with money they made from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but also with valuable consumer data collected on the year’s busiest online shopping season,” said Mike Bittner, director of digital security and operations for The Media Trust.
By carefully vetting digital vendors, businesses can “lower their risk of being deadpooled or swindled by entering into contracts only with companies that have a track record for reliability, longevity and data security,” Bittner said. “VPS providers are legion, but validation and positive reviews from third parties recognized and trusted in the industry will indicate whom to do business with. In the long run, businesses save more and risk less when they go with digital vendors they can trust.”
The suspected attack “on a variety of VPS providers should serve as a reminder to consumers that not all Virtual Private hosting platforms are as secure as they may claim,” said Tim Dunton, MD at Nimbus Hosting. “When looking for a hosting platform, consumers should consider whether the service they are using is run by a multi-brand business operating under the same entity – it is often the case that monopolies and larger organizations are more likely to be the target of a cyberattack.”