It’s a nightmare come true for site owners who had their websites hosted by Australian domain registrar and web host Distribute.IT.

After a detrimental hack attack aimed at the domain registrar, around 4800 Australian websites have disappeared into thin air with absolutely no chance of recovery. As the report by Fairfax Media rightly puts it, the: “deliberate, premeditated and targeted attack” which hit Distribute IT’s servers last Saturday was so catastrophic that it has left four of the company’s servers in an ‘unrecoverable’ state.” This has left thousands of website owners to face the aftermath of this attack which we can only call horrendous.

Security experts have warned that thousands of websites are vulnerable to hijacks and extensive private data are at risk of being stolen. Whirlpool forums are going rife with over 60 pages of posts discussing the Distribute IT hack and complaints about the company not adequately responding with information about the break-in. The worst part is that clients of Distribute IT who had no other backup other than what was at Distribute IT are going to have to rebuild their site – from scratch. This means years of work gone down the drain.

Amid all this, the distressed company, which has not been able to get its own website back online and is using a Google Blogger account to update customers, is still struggling to work out exactly what happened or how much data was stolen. In a statement published by Distribute IT, it has said it had been working around the clock in an attempt to recover data from its affected servers. It further added that not only was the production data erased during the attack, but also key backups, snapshots and other information that would allow them to reconstruct these servers from the remaining data. Unable to transfer the domain names to other parts of its platform, Distribute.IT has no choice “but to assist you in any way possible to transfer your hosting and email needs to other hosting providers”.

And through it all, we can’t help but wonder why Distribute.IT did not appear to have offsite backups of customer data.