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Moonfruit, a UK-based company that offers users a free website building service, has taken all of its customers’ websites temporarily offline following the threat of a targeted attack.

The BBC reports that on Thursday, December 10th, Moonfruit was hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack for 45 minutes.

moonfruitAccording to an email sent out to its customers by Matt Casey, Director of Moonfruit, the persons responsible for the attack claimed to be members of the Armada Collective, a group of hackers that have in recent weeks attacked a number of secure email platforms including ProtonMail and others.

In this particular attack, the hacker collective demanded that the company pay them a “large sum of money” at the risk of having more DDoS attacks occur on Monday.

For the next few days, the email goes on to explain, Moonfruit’s team worked to put a number of technologies in place to protect against subsequent DDoS attacks.

However, the company ultimately decided to revise its strategy.

“As a result of the threatened attack on Moonfruit, we have taken the decision to make significant infrastructure changes which will offer us the best possible protection against these attacks both today and in the future,” a statement issued by the company on Monday begins. “Unfortunately as a result of these changes, and your own sites will be offline from approximately 10 am (GMT) today and will remain offline for up to 12 hours.”

Moonfruit goes on to explain that it is currently working with law enforcement on a solution. In the interim, it has reassured all of its customers that their financial information, as well as their own customers’ financial information, is safe.

Film-maker Reece de Ville, a customer of Moonfruit, told the BBC that the ourage was “very bad timing”.

“They have been slow to communicate via their website what is going on,” he said. “I’m going to have hundreds of people finding my site today but not being able to access it. I could be losing out on a lot of money from potential clients, and they may not come back if they think the company has gone. It’s incredibly bad timing, especially for businesses selling Christmas cards and gifts on their website.”

All Moonfruit customers are advised to follow the company’s Twitter feed for updates regarding the status of their websites.