If any of your favorite sites don’t seem to be working right now, don’t panic — it’s not just you.
Namecheap, the host of some 3 million-plus domains, is reporting that they’re currently undergoing a Distributed Denial Of Service attack of unknown origins.
If that sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo to you, here’s all you need to know: a Distributed Denial Of Service (or DDoS) attack is, generally, when an attacker floods its target with so much traffic that it’s unable to respond to legitimate requests. Namecheap, a company that helps make it so that you can type URLs (like WhateverWebsiteHere.com) instead of IPs (like 192.168.0.1), is currently facing an attack like this, making it quite hard for them to do their job.
The attackers appear to be focusing on some of Namecheap’s primary DNS servers. As a result, many domains that are hosted on Namecheap will be unable to resolve, and other features that rely on their nameservers (like email) might not work.
The company is actively battling the attack, and are hoping that they’ll have everything locked down within the next hour or so. In the meantime: if your domain is hosted on Namecheap and is having difficulties resolving, Namecheap recommends temporarily switching it to their backup DNS system. Update: Namecheap tells us that the situation now seems to be under control. See their full response to this attack below.
Namecheap gained many a fan back in 2011, when the company launched a campaign called Move Your Domain Day in response to competitor GoDaddy’s then-support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. This, along with many other pressures, eventually lead GoDaddy to recanting their support for the bill.
Here’s the official response and breakdown of the attack from Namecheap CEO Richard Kirkendall and VP Matt Russell:
Today is one of the days that as a service provider who strives to deliver excellence day in and day out, you wish you never had.
At around 15.55 GMT / 11.55 EST, a huge DDoS attack started against 300 or so domains on our DNS platform. Our DNS platform is a redundant, global platform spread across 3 continents and 5 countries that handles the DNS for many of our customers. This is a platform meticulously maintained and ran, and a platform that successfully fends off other DDoS attacks on an almost-daily basis.
Today, however, I am compelled to announce that we struggled. The sheer size of the attack overwhelmed many of our DNS servers resulting in inaccessibility and sluggish performance. Our initial estimates show the attack size to be over 100Gbps, making this one of the largest attacks anyone has seen or dealt with. And this is a new type of attack, one that we and our hardware and network partners had not encountered before.
We responded with our well-practiced mitigation plan while also enabling our backup system for those with affected domains.
It took us around 3 hours to fully mitigate the attack, working closely with our hardware and network vendors. At this moment in time, 99% of our services are back to normal.
I’d like to take this time to apologize to those customers affected. I also wish to iterate that we will learn from this attack and come back stronger, and more robust. We are bringing forward a key DNS infrastructure enhancement program that will see us massively expand the size of our DNS infrastructure and our ability to absorb and fend off attacks like these. We remain firmly committed to delivering the absolute best service possible to our loyal customers.