Jan 23, 2007, 11:30 GMT
Google, the world’s biggest web-search engine, had its German website cut off from the internet early Tuesday, apparently after somebody hijacked the rights to its google.de address.
German surfers who tried to enter the Google site instead saw a webpage hosted on the servers of a tiny German online provider, Goneo.
It remained unclear how nobody had noticed the unidentified hijacker when the domain – the ownership of the internet address – was re-registered late Monday. Much of the process of registering web addresses is automated. Domains often expire and go to new owners.
As of Tuesday, Google and its officers were once again registered as owner and contacts with Denic, the German agency that distributes all domains ending with the letters. de.
An online news service, Heise, said the hijack lasted about 12 hours, beginning Monday evening.
Heise quoted Goneo’s chief executive Marc Keilwerth saying one of his customers had used an automated ordering process and secured control of the google.de name as of 8.30 pm Monday German time.