|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Key people||Matthew Prince (CEO)
|Alexa rank||1,284 (October 2016)[update]|
Cloudflare, Inc. is a U.S. company that provides a content delivery network, Internet security services and distributed domain name server services, sitting between the visitor and the Cloudflare user's hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites. Its network protects, speeds up, and improves availability for a website or mobile application with a change in DNS. Cloudflare is headquartered in San Francisco, California, with additional offices in London, Singapore, Champaign and Austin.
Cloudflare was created in 2009 by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn, who had previously worked on Project Honey Pot. Cloudflare was launched at the September 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference. It received media attention in June 2011, after providing security to LulzSec's website.
In February 2014, Cloudflare mitigated the largest-ever recorded DDoS attack, which peaked at 400 Gbit/s against an undisclosed customer. In November 2014, Cloudflare reported a new record for the largest ever recorded DDoS attack with independent media sites being targeted at 500 Gbit/s.
In June 2014, Cloudflare acquired CryptoSeal, founded by Ryan Lackey, in a deal it says will extend web user security services. In February 2014 it acquired StopTheHacker, which offers malware detection, automatic malware removal, and reputation and blacklist monitoring.
Cloudflare defended SpamHaus from a DDoS attack that exceeded 300Gbit/s. Akamai's chief architect stated it was "the largest publicly announced DDoS attack in the history of the Internet". Cloudflare have also reportedly absorbed attacks that have peaked over 400Gbit/s from an NTP Reflection attack.
Web application firewall
Cloudflare allows customers on paid plans to utilise a web application firewall service, by default; the firewall has the OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set alongside Cloudflare's own ruleset and rulesets for popular web applications.
Domain name server
Cloudflare offers free domain name server (DNS) for all clients which are powered by an anycast network. According to W3Cook Cloudflare's DNS service currently powers over 35% of managed DNS domains. SolveDNS have found Cloudflare to consistently have one of the fastest DNS lookup speeds worldwide, with a reported lookup speed of 8.66ms in April 2016.
A key functionality of Cloudflare is that they act as a reverse proxy for web traffic.
Content delivery network
Cloudflare's network has the highest number of connections to Internet exchange points of any network worldwide. Cloudflare caches content to its edge locations to act as a content delivery network (CDN), all requests are then reverse proxied through Cloudflare with cached content served directly from Cloudflare.
Cloudflare has been vocal of their support of free speech values, with the CEO stating: "One of the greatest strengths of the United States is a belief that speech, particularly political speech, is sacred. A website, of course, is nothing but speech,"..."A website is speech. It is not a bomb. There is no imminent danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may contain."
Cloudflare publish a Transparency Report on a semiannual basis to show how often law enforcement agencies request data about its clients.
Awards and recognition
- Awarded "Best Enterprise Startup" by TechCrunch at the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards in February 2015.
- Named the "Most Innovative Network & Internet Technology Company" for two years running by the Wall Street Journal.
- In 2012, Cloudflare was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.
- Ranked among the world's 10 most innovative companies by Fast Company.
Criticism & Controversies
The hacker group UGNazi attacked Cloudflare partially via flaws in Google's authentication systems in June 2012, gaining administrative access to Cloudflare and using it to deface 4chan. Cloudflare published in full the details of the hack. Following this, Google publicly announced they had patched the flaw in the Google Enterprise App account recovery process which allowed the hackers to bypass two-step verification. Later the leader of the hacking group, Cosmo, was arrested and sentenced in California. To date, this remains the only recorded instance of Cloudflare facing a security breach.
An October 2015 report found that Cloudflare provisioned 40% of SSL certificates used by phishing sites with deceptive domain names resembling those of banks and payment processors.
On November 2015, Anonymous discouraged the use of Cloudflare's services, following the ISIS attacks in Paris and renewed accusation of providing help to terrorists. Cloudflare responded by calling their accusers "15-year-old kids in Guy Fawkes masks" and saying that whenever such concerns are raised they consult actual anti-terrorism experts and that they abide by the law.
- Alexa cloudflare.com
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