More than 4,800 Australian websites have been wiped out with no chance of recovery following a break-in by hackers at Australian domain registrar and web host Distribute.IT.
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The hack attack caused so much damage that four of the company's servers were "unrecoverable", according to local reports.
In a statement published a week after the break-in by hackers, Distribute.IT said it had been working around the clock in an attempt to recover data from its affected servers, but it was unlikely that any of the data, sites or e-mails hosted on four servers will be salvaged.
"In assessing the situation, our greatest fears have been confirmed that not only was the production data erased during the attack, but also key back-ups, snapshots and other information that would allow us to reconstruct these servers from the remaining data," the company said.
This means that clients of Distribute.IT's hosting services that had no other back-up will have to rebuild their sites from scratch.
Web forums have been inundated with complaints that Distribute.IT had not adequately responded with information about the break-in, which would force the closure of many businesses, other reports said.