CloudFlare

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Not to be confused with Amazon CloudFront.
CloudFlare
Cloudflare-logo-horizontal.svg
Founded July 2009; 7 years ago (2009-07)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Founder(s) Matthew Prince
Lee Holloway
Michelle Zatlyn
Key people Matthew Prince (CEO)
Lee Holloway
Michelle Zatlyn
Industry Internet
Products CloudFlare
Services Website performance
security-as-a-service
Website www.cloudflare.com
Alexa rank Decrease 1,854 (May 2016)[1]

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.[2]

History[edit]

CloudFlare was created in 2009 by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn,[3][4] who had previously worked on Project Honey Pot.[4][5] CloudFlare was launched at the September 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference.[3][4] It received media attention in June 2011, after providing security to LulzSec's website.[3][6]

In February 2014, CloudFlare mitigated the largest-ever recorded DDoS attack, which peaked at 400 Gbit/s against an undisclosed customer.[7] 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.[8]

Funding rounds[edit]

In November 2009, CloudFlare raised $2.1 million in a Series A round from Pelion Venture Partners and Venrock.[9]

In July 2011, CloudFlare raised $20 million in a Series B round from New Enterprise Associates, Pelion Venture Partners, Venrock.[9][10][11]

In December 2012, CloudFlare raised $50 million in a Series C round from New Enterprise Associates, Pelion Venture Partners, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, and Greenspring Associates.[12][13][14]

In September 2015, CloudFlare raised $110 million in a Series D round led by Fidelity Investments, with participation from Google Capital.[15]

Acquisitions[edit]

In June 2014, CloudFlare acquired CryptoSeal, founded by Ryan Lackey, in a deal it says will extend web user security services.[16][17][18] In February 2014 it acquired StopTheHacker, which offers malware detection, automatic malware removal, and reputation and blacklist monitoring.[17][19]

Services[edit]

DDOS Protection[edit]

For all customers CloudFlare offers an "I'm Under Attack Mode" setting. CloudFlare claims this can mitigate advanced Layer 7 attacks by presenting a Javascript computational challenge which must be completed before a user can access a website.[20]

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".[21][22] CloudFlare have also reportedly absorbed attacks that have peaked over 400Gbit/s from an NTP Reflection attack.[23]

Web Application Firewall[edit]

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.[24]

DNS[edit]

CloudFlare offers free DNS for all clients which is powered by an Anycast network.[25] According to W3Cook CloudFlare's DNS service currently powers over 35% of managed DNS domains.[26] 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.[27]

Reverse Proxy[edit]

A key functionality of CloudFlare is that they act as a reverse proxy for web traffic.

CloudFlare support new web protocols, including SPDY and HTTP/2. In addition to this, CloudFlare offer support for HTTP/2 Server Push.[28] CloudFlare also support proxying Websockets.

CDN[edit]

CloudFlare's network has the highest number of connections to Internet exchange points of any network worldwide.[29] CloudFlare caches content to its edge locations to act as a CDN, all requests are then reverse proxied through CloudFlare with cached content served directly from CloudFlare.

Values[edit]

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."[30]

CloudFlare publish a Transparency Report on a semiannual basis to show how often law enforcement agencies request data about its clients.[31]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Awarded "Best Enterprise Startup" by TechCrunch at the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards in February 2015.[32]
  • Named the "Most Innovative Network & Internet Technology Company" for two years running by the Wall Street Journal.[33]
  • In 2012, CloudFlare was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer.[34]
  • Ranked among the world's 10 most innovative companies by Fast Company.[35]

Criticism & Controversies[edit]

CloudFlare was ranked in the 7th rank among the top 50 Bad Hosts by Host Exploit.[36] The service has been used by Rescator, a website that sells payment card data.[37][38][39]

Two of ISIS' top three online chat forums are guarded by CloudFlare but U.S. law enforcement has not asked them to discontinue the service.[40]

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.[41][42] 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.[43] Later the leader of the hacking group, Cosmo, was arrested and sentenced in California.[44] 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.[45]

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.[46] 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.[47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexa cloudflare.com
  2. ^ "CloudFlare Reveals $50 Million "Secret" Funding -- From One Year Ago - Kara Swisher - Security - AllThingsD". AllThingsD. 
  3. ^ a b c Henderson, Nicole (2011-06-17). "Cloudflare Gets an Unusual Endorsement from Hacker Group LulzSec". Webhost Industry Review. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  4. ^ a b c "Our story". Cloudflare. Retrieved 2016-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Cloudflare Beta". Project Honey Pot. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  6. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-06-10). "Web Security Start-Up Cloudflare Gets Buzz, Courtesy of LulzSec Hackers". All Things Digital. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  7. ^ "DDoS Attack Hits 400 Gbit/s, Breaks Record". Dark Reading. 
  8. ^ Olson, Parmy. "The Largest Cyber Attack In History Has Been Hitting Hong Kong Sites". Forbes. 
  9. ^ a b https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/Cloudflare
  10. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-07-12). "Web Security Start-Up Cloudflare Lands $20 Million Funding Round". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  11. ^ Milian, Mark (December 18, 2012). "Why a Fast-Growing Startup Tries to Keep Its Venture Funding Secret". Tech Deals. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cloudflare Reveals $50M Round From Union Square Ventures". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  13. ^ Michael Hickins. "CloudFlare Raised $50M, Ready to Spend". WSJ. 
  14. ^ "CloudFlare Reveals $50M Round From Union Square Ventures". TechCrunch. AOL. 17 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Miller, Ron. "CloudFlare Hints IPO Could Be Coming, But Not This Year". www.techcrunch.com. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  16. ^ "Cloudflare Acquires CryptoSeal". SecurityCurrent.com. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  17. ^ a b "CryptoSeal". crunchbase.com. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Jeremy Kirk (18 June 2014). "Cloudflare acquires enterprise VPN provider CryptoSeal". PCWorld. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Cloudflare Acquires Anti-Malware Firm StopTheHacker". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  20. ^ Holloway, Lee Hahn; Rao, Srikanth N.; Prince, Matthew Browning; Tourne, Matthieu Philippe François; Pye, Ian Gerald; Bejjani, Ray Raymond; Rodery Jr, Terry Paul (2013). "Identifying a denial-of-service attack in a cloud-based proxy service". 
  21. ^ Storm, Darlene. "Biggest DDoS attack in history slows Internet, breaks record at 300 Gbps". Computerworld. 
  22. ^ Markoff, John; Perlroth, Nicole (26 March 2013). "Online Dispute Becomes Internet-Snarling Attack". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Gallagher, Sean. "Biggest DDoS ever aimed at Cloudflare's content delivery network". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  24. ^ Mahmood, Haider. "Cloudflare Web Application Firewall Review". haiderm.com. 
  25. ^ Jackson, Brian (17 September 2015). "10 Best Free DNS Hosting Providers". KeyCDN Blog. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "Cloudflare Usage Statistics and Market Share". www.w3cook.com. 
  27. ^ "April 2016 DNS Speed Comparison Report". www.solvedns.com. 
  28. ^ Osborne, Charlie. "CloudFlare figured out how to make the Web one second faster | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  29. ^ "Internet Exchange Report - bgp.he.net". bgp.he.net. Hurricane Electric. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  30. ^ Dredge, Stuart (12 August 2013). "CloudFlare on censorship: 'A website is speech. It is not a bomb'". the Guardian. 
  31. ^ Kovacs, Eduard. "CloudFlare Releases Transparency Report for First Half of 2015 | SecurityWeek.Com". www.securityweek.com. Wired Business Media. 
  32. ^ "8th Annual Crunchies Awards". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  33. ^ Michael Totty and Shirley S. Wang (17 October 2011). "Winners of the 2011 Wall Street Journal Innovation Awards - WSJ". WSJ. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  34. ^ "Technology Pioneer 2012 - Matthew Prince, Michelle Zatlyn & Lee Holloway (Cloudflare)". Technology Pioneer 2012 - Matthew Prince, Michelle Zatlyn & Lee Holloway (Cloudflare) - World Economic Forum. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  35. ^ "Most Innovative Companies 2012 - Industries Top 10 - Web/Internet". Fast Company. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  36. ^ "Host Exploit - World Host Report March 2014" (PDF). hostexploit.com. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  37. ^ Yadron, Danny (29 September 2014). "CloudFlare Pushes More Encrypted Web". Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  38. ^ Kovacs, Eduard (17 March 2014). "Underground Payment Card Store Rescator Hacked and Defaced". Retrieved 10 August 2015. 
  39. ^ Krebs, Brian (15 January 2015). "Spreading the Disease and Selling the Cure". Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  40. ^ "Testimony of Evan F. Kohlmann" (PDF). docs.house.gov. 27 January 2015. 
  41. ^ Simcoe, Luke (2012-06-14). "The 4chan breach: How hackers got a password through voicemail". Maclean's. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  42. ^ Ms. Smith (2012-06-03). "Hacktivists UGNazi attack 4chan, Cloudflare and Wounded Warrior Project". Privacy and Security Fanatic. NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  43. ^ Prince, Matthew (4 June 2012). "The Four Critical Security Flaws that Resulted in Last Friday's Hack". CloudFlare. 
  44. ^ Honan, Mat. "Teenage Hacker 'Cosmo the God' Sentenced by California Court". WIRED. 
  45. ^ Edgecombe, Graham (12 October 2015). "Certificate authorities issue SSL certificates to fraudsters". Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  46. ^ Hern, Alex (19 November 2015). "Web services firm CloudFlare accused by Anonymous of helping Isis". Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  47. ^ http://fortune.com/2015/11/18/anonymous-isis-cloudflare/

External links[edit]