The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been hit by hackers.
The organisation tasked with keeping the internet running admitted to the attack in a blogpost, saying that some of its employees had fallen victim to phishing emails.
"We believe a 'spear phishing' attack was initiated in late November 2014. It involved email messages that were crafted to appear to come from our own domain being sent to members of our staff," ICANN said.
"The attack resulted in the compromise of the email credentials of several ICANN staff members."
ICANN explained that a number of other systems are being studied for evidence of any further infiltration.
These include the Centralized Zone Data System which relates to the overall administration of domains and could affect global registrars. ICANN said that it has contacted these organisations.
The internet overseer also admitted that the hackers accessed its WHOIS database, but that it appears to be untouched.
ICANN added that it is going through an investigation and a security overhaul, but claimed that earlier efforts will have mitigated the impact of this attack.
The organisation said that it is revealing information about the attack for the good of the community.
"We are providing information about this incident publicly, not just because of our commitment to openness and transparency but because sharing of cybersecurity information helps all involved to assess threats to their systems."
TK Keanini, chief technology officer at network security company Lancope, suggested that ICANN must have had its systems in good order.
"[The attack] happened in late November and was discovered last week. Some companies don't identify the attacks for years, so by that measure ICANN was on top of its game," he said.
However, Keanini added that domain administrators must now be equally prepared and strong on their response.
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