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Health & Lifestyle / September 26, 2011

The other day The eXiled received an offer to sign up for a free security service called CloudFlare that’s supposed to provide security and reliability. Basically, CloudFlare can keep a website running in the event of a DDoS attack by routing all web requests through its servers, allowing it to analyze and reject traffic that it thinks is coming from hostile sources. CloudFlare also keeps a cached version of a website and serves it from its own data centers, which should increase speed and allow the site to be accessed in the event of a server crash.

I looked into the service, and it seemed legit. Tech blogs sing CloudFlare’s praises, and the company was recently named a “technology pioneer” by the world financial elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos:

CloudFlare streamlines its members’ Web traffic through a dozen servers around the world, optimizing the data stream in the process while shielding it from the parasites and predators that increasingly contribute to Web congestion. On the average, websites that join the CloudFlare community and use its intelligent network operate at double the speed of conventional Internet traffic. … The government of Turkey recently signed up with CloudFlare to keep its election website from melting down from the expected surge in traffic and as an added protection against denial of service attacks.

Now that would be fine, except for one thing: the people who founded CloudFlare were behind something called Project Honey Pot, a service that positions itself as some kind of a grassroot-y antispam registry, but in reality seems to be a pro-corporate law enforcement tool with the specific aim of entrapping and prosecuting spammers/phishing scammers in a way that’s friendly to the marketing industry , and without “violating the rights of marketers”–yeah, because marketers have rights, dude!

Project Honey Pot network serves as a resource for government law enforcement officials to monitor e-mail address harvesting and subsequent sending.Uniquely, our system allows those prosecuting cases to link the senders of e-mail and the harvesters of e-mail addresses. Our product is the first and only one that allows enforcement officials to start their investigation earlier in the spam cycle.

On top of that, CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince made a weird, glib admission that he decided to start the company only after the Department of Homeland Security gave him a call in 2007 and suggested he take the technology behind Project Honey Pot one step further…

And that makes CloudFlare a whole different story: People who sign up for the service are allowing CloudFlare to monitor, observe and scrutinize all of their site’s traffic, which makes it much easier for intel or law enforcement agencies to collect info on websites and without having to hack or request the logs from each hosting company separately. But there’s more. Because CloudFlare doesn’t just passively monitor internet traffic but works like a dynamic firewall to selectively block traffic from sources it deems to be “hostile,” website operators are giving it a whole lotta power over who gets to see their content. The whole point of CloudFlare is to restrict access to websites from specific locations/IP addresses on the fly, without notifying or bothering the website owner with the details. It’s all boils down to a question of trust, as in: do you trust a shady company with known intel/law enforcement connections to make that decision?

And here is an added bonus for the paranoid: Because CloudFlare partially caches websites and delivers them to web surfers via its own servers, the company also has the power to serve up redacted versions of the content to specific users. CloudFlare is perfect: it can implement censorship on the fly, without anyone getting wise to it!

Right now CloudFlare says it monitors nearly 1/5 of all Internet visits. An astounding claim for a company most people haven’t even heard of. And techie bloggers seem very excited about getting as much Internet traffic routed through them as possible!

About an hour ago we crossed 10 billion page views having been powered by CloudFlare over the last 30 days. … To put it in perspective, that means more than 13% of worldwide Internet visitors passed through our network at least once in the last month. That’s almost 100 million more unique visitors than Twitter, and more than 3 billion more page views than Wikipedia, over the same period.

People are suckers: It can’t be Big Brother if it has a design-y logo like this:

PS: As it turns out, CouldFlare was named a “technology pioneer” along with Palantir at the last Davos conference. And everyone remembers what Palantir is all about, right?

The bank and the chamber do not appear to have directly solicited the spylike services of HBGary Federal. Rather, HBGary Federal offered to do the work for Hunton & Williams, a corporate law firm that has represented them.

A Hunton & Williams spokesman did not comment. But spokesmen for Bank of America and the chamber said Friday that they had not known about the presentations and that HBGary Federal was never hired on their behalf. A chamber spokesman characterized the proposal as “abhorrent.”

Since the hacked e-mails appeared on a file-sharing network several days ago, a broad range of bloggers and journalists have been scouring them and discussing highlights on the Internet. The New York Times also obtained a copy of the archive.

One document that has received particular attention is a PowerPoint presentation that said a trio of data-related companies — HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies — could help attack WikiLeaks, which is rumored to be preparing to release internal e-mails from Bank of America.

 

 

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36 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Aaron  |  September 26th, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Hey, I got something like that! A little while ago I got solicited to join this thing called “RATFOCR” which was supposed to be some kind of political thing, I dunno, probably just an excuse to put together a saleable mailing list full of suckers. I get the impression whoever’s behind “RATFOCR” isn’t nearly as competent as the guys behind CloudFlare, tho, so I’m not too worried about it.

  • 2. Rehmat  |  September 26th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I hope Matthew Prince is not the same dude who was arrested by Boulder police last year – for going from one business to the next, racking up bar tabs and then skipping out on the bills!!

    Now on the serious topic – the World Economic Forum in Davos which proved in 2009 UN Conference on Racism that it’s as much controlled by Israel as is Uncle Sam. The conference turned into Tel Aviv’s brothel street during Iranian Presiden Ahmadinejad’s speech and in protest against Ahmadinejad’s calling for the eradication of the Zionist regime in occupied Palestine – 20 European countries diplomats walked out.

    Last week 30 western diplomats, lead by America’s Susan Rice boycotted Ahmadinejad’s speech at UN General Assembly – for questioning the official story of 9/11….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/04/22/durban-ii-crucification-of-freedom-of-speech/

  • 3. Jedi Mind Trick  |  September 26th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Very interesting. I’m sure there’s no hidden purpose for all these tech bloggers being so excited about the service.

    These are not the bloggers you are looking for.

  • 4. FOARP  |  September 26th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Pains me to say this, but since you guys obviously don’t feel like covering Russia any more, even when there’s news coming out of there (Putin going for Pres. again, finance minister quitting) which your insight would be worth hearing, I’m just going to have to ditch you for the Moscow Times and RIA.

  • 5. Everybody Gets Ice Cream  |  September 26th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Welcome to the Panopticon, Neo.

  • 6. DocAmazing  |  September 26th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Family histories among this crowd a little well-guarded, but I’m curious as to what relationship, if any, exists between Matthew Prince and Erik Prince of Blackwater/Xe fame. It would not surprose me if a guy with his connections smoothed the way for a son or nephew to get into this neo-INSLAW scheme.

  • 7. Rehmat  |  September 26th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    FOARP – I am sure Claire Berlinski is not happy with Putin becoming President for the next ten years. Last year she called Putin ‘anti-Semite’ for discriminating wealthy Russian Jewish oligarchs…..

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/jewish-dissidents-want-regime-change-in-moscow/

  • 8. Duarte Guerreiro  |  September 26th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    You guys are going to turn me into a dangerous paranoid pretty soon. People are already calling me a conspiracy theorist in regular conversation. If I go on a rampage I’ll be sure to credit the Exiled as motivation for my actions, send some traffic your way.

  • 9. Duarte Guerreiro  |  September 26th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Also, I wonder if these assholes helped do in Lulzsec? Lulzsec were always bragging about using Cloudflare to protect their site from DDOS attacks.

  • 10. Marx Dog  |  September 26th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Did you guys catch the thing recently about a guy on facebook trying to get a counter-protest going against the BART protestors in the SF Bay Area, and then it turned out he was linked to Palantir? Good times

  • 11. A Silver Mt. Paektu  |  September 26th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Rehmat, is there ever a time where it’s not appropriate to name the Jew? Job interviews, cocktail parties, supermarket checkout?

  • 12. boogie mama  |  September 26th, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    YES. Thank you!

    Exiled needs to do more shit about technology and web shit. Especially because so much of it is rotten with the kind of empathy-free dork technocrat that identifies as “libertarian”.

  • 13. John Drinkwater  |  September 26th, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Time to go offline. Back to print publishing, guys.

  • 14. Anarchy Wolf  |  September 26th, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    This world really needs to get burned down, I mean seriously, this shit is just starting to get ridiculous. And it’ll only get worse and harder to burn down the longer we all wait.

  • 15. Punjabi From Karachi  |  September 26th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I agree with John Drinkwater & good luck to Duarte Guirrero in keeping up his appearance of sanity. My recommendation is to get yourself published in a real print magazine, then, you’ll be taken seriously by those around you.

    I seriously am getting tired of the internet now.

  • 16. Punjabi From Karachi  |  September 27th, 2011 at 12:25 am

    By the way, there’s a spat on between Steve Jobs (that vampire is a good candidate for a good exhole-ing) and Google over Android and who’s product invades privacy worse. I think I’ll stay away from smart phones.

    Wireless and Information Technology is so ubiquitous, that I think it’s sort of jumped the shark now.

    In terms of tech and politics, two things:

    1) I was also wondering what the Exile makes of that strange crotchety old hippie/geezer who runs Cryptome.I may be factually incorrect, but I do not have the patience to deal with the rambling emails of a man who goes on and on about his morals, but apparently got viciously angry at Julian Assange’s idea of collecting money so as to release Wikileak’s data in the most politically effective way. He seems like only less of an asshole that Daniel Dumb-Shit-Berg.

    2) I was also wondering, wouldn’t it be rather easy for a Comp Sci major to make an anonymous, file uploading software, so that wikileaks could have stuff coming up into the internet cloud again? These two things deserve to be looked into.

    I hope Exile helps whatever new Wikileaks comes along.

  • 17. quiborum bak  |  September 27th, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Our society is loaded with sellable mailing list full of suckers

    talking about tech bloggers – Diggers and Redditors

    Like all Presidents before him , short of Gorbachev, Putin wants to be President for life, rather than a playboy. He recently accused the US of being a parasite, living off the world’s economy. Remember he was chief of the KGB once. It’s the cold war all over again.

    And seriously, I am getting tired of the people, using the internet. Especially the Facebookers.

  • 18. Edmund Dorkey  |  September 27th, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Dear Exholes,
    SAIC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAIC_%28company%29) is another one to watch.

    Cheers,

    Edmund Dorkey, Bridgehampton, NY

  • 19. Rehmat  |  September 27th, 2011 at 6:54 am

    A Silver Mt. Paektu -Are you a Jew hater like Gilad Atzmon or Roger Tucker?

    The Jewish Lobby’s re-action to Atzmon’s new book ‘The Wandering Who: A study of Jewish Identity Politics‘ has proved that Gilad Atzmon could be the only Jew who unifies the Zionist horde while among the Gentile, it’s Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In reviewing Giad Atzmon’s book – Shahram Vahdany called Gilad ‘King of Jews’….

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/gilad-atzmon-the-jewish-messiah/

  • 20. Drunken Economist  |  September 27th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Soooooo Yasha, does the Exiled use Cloudflare?

    If so, GREAT PRODUCT PLACEMENT, yo.

  • 21. Eurotrash  |  September 27th, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    The kids at Dramatica use Cloudflare extensively, and Lulzsec did too as someone pointed out. It’s fairly shitty and the substitute pages you get are often broken, but it helps somewhat with the key problem encountered by that sort of site: DoS attacks.

    If you aren’t concerned with DoS attacks but are profoundly concerned with privacy, then don’t use Cloudflare – and more importantly do your business off the internet.

  • 22. Eurotrash  |  September 27th, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Oh yeah -

    “more than 13% of worldwide Internet visitors passed through our network at least once in the last month” does not equal “monitoring nearly 1/5 of all internet visits”, Yasha. All it means is that one url out of all the ones you visit or go through, every thirty days or so, may be affiliated with these jokers. Monitoring a fifth of the internet is a big, big job.

  • 23. iSockpuppet  |  September 27th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    We know where you have been.

  • 24. boogie mama  |  September 28th, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Hey, word to Exiled staff:

    How about like an Exiled wiki? You could have like timelines of Koch activity, evaluations of businesses and their political agendas, etc. etc.

    Feel free to call me a retard if that’s a dumb idea but I like the idea of some kind of info database on the various shitfuckers and their antics, even if eXiled Staff are the only ones who can edit it.

  • 25. Henry  |  September 28th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    One vote more for an Exiled wiki. Or maybe something in the similar vein.

  • 26. Jose  |  September 29th, 2011 at 1:05 am

    I’d like to see the old .ru pages back since I’m missing parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 of his Berkley speed lab adventures.

  • 27. Phil  |  September 29th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Even though this isn’t a democracy, I also vote for an Exiled wiki. Libyan American democracy at it’s finest.

  • 28. Phil  |  September 29th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Damnit, there was supposed to be a strikethrough around Libyan!

  • 29. Phil  |  September 29th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I am not sure how much I can care about this. Sorry, I am a lot more concerned about not having a job than I am about a power grab by the fascists who are already in power. What else can they take?

  • 30. SteveB  |  October 1st, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Makes me think of all these people thinking their data is safe “in the Cloud”
    I still love my Web-Free Servers!

  • 31. Adam  |  October 3rd, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Wow, this is comment is absolute crap. How can someone sit down and write this without smirking? This is just a loosely strung of words that might be coincidences and not even interesting ones. How could I even write this crap?

    It’s comments like my that ruin the internet.

  • 32. A  |  October 11th, 2011 at 12:52 am

    As an antispam professional, I work with Project Honeypot. They are not particularly sinister. They exist to help track down spammers who are illegally selling information. I won’t defend CloudFlare – my understanding is that the guy is definitely suspect – but Project Honeypot is not some big conspiracy. They put out fake addresses on the web, and if they are harvested and emailed (illegal in many countries, unethical in all), they list the IP that sent the message. This is a common antispam tactic used by blacklisting groups to help prevent spam.

    Information filtering has a lot of potentially terrifying uses, but it also has positive applications that shouldn’t be ignored. If you don’t know what is good about a technology of control, you cannot effectively argue against it when it is misapplied.

  • 33. crazy_inventor  |  October 15th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Project honeypot, ah yes I remember the early days when he was much less concerned with his public image, and much more forthcoming regarding motivations and background. (information warfare, information operations)

    Exiled you are correct -

    HBGary, Palantir, Berico “They are not particularly sinister”

    Having read the emails I say they are VERY sinister.

    Black hats pretending to be white hats toward the market facing public side, while privately revealing themselves as gray hats for normal clients, and as the actual blacker than black hats they are to contract clients, the bulk of which is department of fatherland security/TSA.

    What do you call a cheap IT whore who will do _anything_ with _anyone_ for a price, while switching hats at will to suit the occasion?

    And who’s ethics/morals are completely fluid depending on the client and payout?

    blacker than black doesn’t even do justice..

  • 34. S-Wing  |  November 14th, 2011 at 9:35 am

    An Exiled image board is something that I or someone could put together at some point (adding a “not actually affiliated” disclaimer if so desired)

    also, Oh Internet– the shitty thing they tried to build after they lost ED– is a Something Awful project, which is itself politically right-wing on all except frivolous vanity issues. I don’t know that SA has actual Party Connections but I wouldn’t rule it out.

  • 35. Robert Hodge  |  January 20th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    @1. Aaron
    You’re a funny guy. I like you. I rape you last

  • 36. J. Lee  |  March 20th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Denied Access to Texas Observer when I tried to follow a link from Huff Post. I’m just an ordinary person trying to keep up with current events. This is clearly Big Brother censorship as it has effected me, and I expect many 1000′s more who are arbitrarily herded into approved corporate groupthink.


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