US email provider VFEmail says a hacker destroyed its primary and backup data hosted in the United States, leaving customers with empty inboxes.
The company, which provides security-focused free and paid email services, described the attack as “catastrophic” in a statement.
“We have suffered catastrophic destruction at the hands of a hacker,” the company said.
“This person has destroyed all data in the US, both primary and backup systems.
“We are working to recover what data we can.”
VFEmail first acknowledged the problems via its Twitter account in the early hours of Tuesday Australian time.
It went on to catch the attacker at work “in the middle of formatting the backup server”.
“At this time, the attacker has formatted all the disks on every server,” the provider tweeted.
“Every VM is lost. Every file server is lost, every backup server is lost.”
The company had servers in the Netherlands, albeit hosting a “vastly smaller dataset”. Backups there appeared to have remained intact.
That was likely to be of little consolation to users of the service’s infrastructure hosted in the US; one business user told KrebsOnSecurity that 60,000 emails it had sent over the past decade were now missing.
VFEmail rued the fact the attackers had struck seemingly only with destruction in mind.
“There was no ransom. Just attack and destroy,” the company tweeted.