Attack compels ISP to float its assets

U.K. Internet service provider Cloud Nine, which closed down this week after being hit by a denial of service attack, sells its assets and customer base to fellow ISP Zetnet.

Graeme Wearden Special to CNET News.com
2 min read
Cloud Nine, the U.K. Internet service provider that closed down this week after being hit by a denial of service attack, has sold its assets and customer base to fellow ISP Zetnet, Cloud Nine said Thursday.

The deal may not be clear-cut, though. V21, another ISP that Cloud Nine is understood to have been in negotiations with, may be considering legal action.

Under the agreement, Zetnet will acquire Cloud Nine's customer base. Zetnet has set up an information page and an IRC channel for those affected by the change. Many of Cloud Nine's customers have posted angry comments in online forums about the disruption to their services and the lack of communication from Cloud Nine.

Cloud Nine closed down Tuesday morning, blaming a vicious DoS attack it claimed had disabled its servers and caused serious damage to its business. The ISP told its customers that because its insurance would not cover the cost of bringing its servers back online, it was forced to sell out.

At one stage, V21 was thought to have acquired Cloud Nine's assets. According to one unconfirmed report, V21 is now considering legal action amid suggestions that a "previously agreed deal" with Cloud Nine had been withdrawn. Attempts to contact V21 for comment were unsuccessful.

Cloud Nine has also strongly denied rumors that it closed down because of financial problems rather than an attack. "Cloud Nine was a solvent company," it said in a statement, "cash-flow positive with cash in the bank (and no borrowings except for operating leases), but as the attacks continued, this was obviously going to change, and our decision had to be taken with that in mind." How a denial of service attack works

Cloud Nine's customers saw a series of rumors fly around the Web about which ISP was about to snap them up. Many claim they received little communication from Cloud Nine about what was actually going on. Cloud Nine said that's because the DoS attack took out its e-mail and Web servers.

Graeme Wearden reported from London.