Ransomware infects popular web-hosting provider SmarterASP

This is reportedly the third web-hosting provider to be struck by ransomware this year.

A ransomware attack has hit SmarterASP.NET, a popular web-hosting provider, forcing the websites of an unspecified number of customers offline.

“Your hosting account was under attack and hackers have encrypted all your data,” SmarterASP.NET, which claims over 440,000 customers, said Monday in a message on its website. “We are now working with security experts to try to decrypt your data and also to make sure this would never happen again.”

For relatively cheap, SmarterASP.NET lets organizations or individuals host an unlimited number of websites per month. That makes SmarterASP.NET an attractive target for a ransomware-slinging attacker looking to hit a range of victims.

The ransomware attack was an unwelcome disruption for a company that markets itself on keeping sites online. Throughout the day Monday, SmarterASP.NET posted updates to its Facebook page saying that customer accounts locked by the ransomware were gradually being decrypted and restored. Some customers thanked SmarterASP.NET for getting their websites back online, while others complained their sites were still offline. One user asked if the hackers would be brought to justice.


A phone call to SmarterASP.NET for comment did not go through due to the high volume of calls the company was receiving.

This is the third web-hosting provider to be struck by ransomware this year, ZDNet reported.

Sean Lyngaas

Written by Sean Lyngaas

Sean Lyngaas is CyberScoop’s Senior Reporter covering the Department of Homeland Security and Congress. He was previously a freelance journalist in West Africa, where he covered everything from a presidential election in Ghana to military mutinies in Ivory Coast for The New York Times. Lyngaas’ reporting also has appeared in The Washington Post, The Economist and the BBC, among other outlets. His investigation of cybersecurity issues in the nuclear sector, backed by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, won plaudits from industrial security experts. He was previously a reporter with Federal Computer Week and, before that, with Smart Grid Today. Sean earned a B.A. in public policy from Duke University and an M.A. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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