The hacking group accused web services startup CloudFlare of protecting pro-Isis websites against cyberattacks. The matter is that CloudFlare protects its customers against DDoS attacks usually used by such hacking collectives as Anonymous by routing connections through its own content delivery network. The company weeds out malicious connections and prevents overwhelming a website with traffic so that it collapses.
However, the members of Anonymous, who have reaffirmed their “war” against Isis after the Paris attacks, claimed that CloudFlare’s technology is used by pro-Isis websites to protect themselves against the attempts of Anonymous to target their servers. Before the Paris attacks, an Anonymous-affiliated “counter-terrorism network” identified about 40 websites that used these online services to protect their content, of which 34 were propaganda websites, 4 – discussion forums, and 2 offered technical services.
CloudFlare got used to such accusations and has long argued that it doesn’t have to police content on its network. Two years ago, in response to similar allegations from a reporter, CloudFlare’s CEO published a blogpost where he laid out its view on free speech on the service. The company’s head explained that a website creates no imminent danger, and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and detect the theoretically harmful nature of speech an online service may contain.
The company explained that if it received a valid court order that compelled it to not provide service to a customer, then it would comply. However, CloudFlare has never even received a simple request to terminate the accused websites from any law enforcement authority, let alone a valid court order. When recently being accused by the hacking collective, the company’s CEO has redoubled his stance. He admitted he had seen a tweet saying Anonymous were mad at CloudFlare, but compared it to armchair analysis by kids and didn’t take it seriously.
Ironically enough, Anonymous uses CloudFlare for some of their websites – despite pressure from some quarters for the company to take hackers’ sites offline. Even if CloudFlare was hosting sites for Isis, it wouldn’t be of any use to the company, because those kinds of people would pay with stolen credit cards, which is a negative for CloudFlare.