Domain registrar Name.com forced its customers to reset their account passwords on Wednesday following a security breach on the company's servers that might have resulted in customer information being compromised.
Hackers might have gained access to usernames, email addresses, encrypted passwords as well as encrypted credit card information, the company said in an email message sent to customers that was later posted online by users.
The credit card information was encrypted with private keys stored in a separate location that wasn't compromised, Name.com said in the email. The company did not specify the type of encryption used, but referred to it as being "strong."
The alert email instructed recipients to click on a link in order to perform a password reset, a method that was criticized by some users and security researchers, because it resembles that used in phishing attacks.
"The problem with encouraging people to click email-borne links (which could have come from anywhere, or could point to anywhere) for anything relating to logging in or password reset is this: it softens them up to email links that end up at 'enter your password' dialogs," Paul Ducklin, a security researcher with antivirus vendor Sophos, said Wednesday in a blog post. "That plays into the hands of phishers, so please don't do it."
Name.com confirmed the authenticity of the email via its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
"The email you received about the password change is from us and is valid," the company said in a post on Facebook. "We had some hackers go after one of our large commercial clients, and we want to take all the precautions possible. In the email (which if you haven't received you should soon) there is a direct and unique link to change your password."
A hacker group called Hack the Planet (HTP) claimed earlier this week that they compromised Name.com in their attempt to hack into Linode, a virtual private server hosting firm. In a recently published "hacker zine," HTP said that they managed to acquire the domain login for Linode, as well as for Stack Overflow, DeviantArt and others from Name.com.
Name.com did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking confirmation of HTP's claims and other information about the attack.
Linode disclosed back in April that its management servers and customer database were compromised and said at the time that HTP claimed responsibility for the attack. However, that security breach was the result a zero-day -- previously unknown -- vulnerability in Adobe's ColdFusion application server software, which HTP confirmed to have exploited in order to hack into Linode's servers.
HTP said that it managed to also compromise additional domain registrars, including Xinnet, MelbourneIT, and Moniker, which allegedly gave them access to around 5.5 million domain names.