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GoDaddy data breach hits WordPress hosting services and Resellers

GoDaddy says the recently disclosed data breach affecting roughly 1.2 million customers has also hit multiple Managed WordPress services resellers.

According to Dan Rice, VP of Corporate Communications at GoDaddy, the six resellers also impacted by this massive breach are tsoHost, Media Temple, 123Reg, Domain Factory, Heart Internet, and Host Europe.

GoDaddy acquired these brands after buying web hosting and cloud services companies Host Europe Group in 2017 and Media Temple in 2013.

” A small number of active and inactive Managed WordPress users at those brands were impacted by the security incident,” Rice told WordPress security firm Wordfence.

“No other brands are impacted. Those brands have already contacted their respective customers with specific detail and recommended action.”

Hacked using a compromised password
The data breach was discovered by GoDaddy last Wednesday, on November 17, but, as separately revealed in a Monday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the customers’ data was exposed since at least September 6, 2021, after unknown threat actors had access to the company’s Managed WordPress hosting environment.

“Our investigation is ongoing, but we have determined that, on or about September 6, 2021, an unauthorized third party gained access to certain authentication information for administrative services, specifically, your customer number and email address associated with your account; your WordPress Admin login set at inception; and your sFTP and database usernames and passwords,” GoDaddy told customers in data breach notification letters sent this week.

“What this means is the unauthorized party could have obtained the ability to access your Managed WordPress service and make changes to it, including to alter your website and the content stored on it.”

The attackers had access to the following GoDaddy customer information after breaching the company’s provisioning system for Managed WordPress:

Up to 1.2 million active and inactive Managed WordPress customers had their email address and customer number exposed. The exposure of email addresses presents risk of phishing attacks.
The original WordPress Admin password that was set at the time of provisioning was exposed. If those credentials were still in use, we reset those passwords.
For active customers, sFTP and database usernames and passwords were exposed. We reset both passwords.
For a subset of active customers, the SSL private key was exposed. We are in the process of issuing and installing new certificates for those customers.
GoDaddy has not yet published a public statement regarding this data breach on its website.

Not the first rodeo
This is not the first data breach or cybersecurity incident the web hosting giant’s has disclosed in recent years.

Another breach was revealed last year, in May, when GoDaddy alerted customers that hackers used their web hosting account credentials to connect to their hosting account via SSH.

GoDaddy’s security team discovered the breach after finding an altered SSH file in the company’s hosting environment and noticing suspicious activity on a subset of GoDaddy’s servers.

In 2019, GoDaddy injected JavaScript into US customers’ sites without their knowledge, potentially rendering them inoperable or impacting the websites’ overall performance.

GoDaddy is one of the largest web hosting companies and domain registrars, providing services to over 20 million customers worldwide.

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