By Stephen C. Webster Monday, September 10, 2012 16:06 EDT

A man wearing an "Anonymous" mask in Austin, Texas. Photo: Stephen C. Webster, creative commons licensed.

An unknown person claiming affiliation with the amorphous protest movement “Anonymous” took responsibility on Monday for hacking website host GoDaddy.com, the Internet’s largest domain register, shortly after millions of sites serviced by the company went dark.

The outage affected all sites that are hosted with GoDaddy or use GoDaddy domain services. GoDaddy email and phone services were down as well.

While the official “Anonymous” channels did not claim the attack, they did promote it. Another individual, posting on Twitter under the name “AnonymousOwn3r,” ultimately took responsibility.

“Hello everyone who wanna me to put 99% of the global Internet in #tangodown?” the account asked. “I’m taking godaddy down because well i’d like to test how the cyber security is safe and for more reasons that i can not talk now,” the nameless hacker explained.

GoDaddy confirmed the outage a short while later, saying: “We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it. A second update hours later apologized to all the people writing in and promised that GoDaddy’s techs were “working feverishly” to fix the problem. The company’s own website and support line also appeared to be down nearly three hours after GoDaddy confirmed the outage.

GoDaddy became the target of the Internet’s ire last year after the company came out in favor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an unpopular series of Internet regulations proposed in the U.S. House that would have fundamentally changed the structure of the Internet and implemented widespread censorship in the name of protecting intellectual property rights. The company backtracked on supporting SOPA after several high-profile websites switched providers amid a sustained online protest encouraging GoDaddy customers to change hosts. ——

Photo: Stephen C. Webster, creative commons licensed