Tech company Cloudflare, with $30 billion (27 billion euros) in revenue, has decided to continue providing services to Russia, facing calls to stop following the invasion from Ukraine.
Cloudflare both protects websites from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which flood servers with traffic to prevent them from working, and also help them run faster. Last week, Kyiv’s deputy prime minister and head of propaganda Mykhailo Fedorov, 31, wrote to Cloudflare asking him to exit Russia and follow in the footsteps of other companies. From Apple to Microsoft, who stopped selling new products to Putin’s nation.
“At a time when Russia is attacking Ukraine and its missiles and tanks are killing defenseless children, Russia’s web resources must also remain defenseless,” Fedorov said in a telegram sent to Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince last week. Enclosing the letter was written. Fedorov announced early in the conflict the creation of a computer army that launched DDoS attacks on a number of Russian targets, from the Kremlin website to Sberbank, with varying degrees of success.
“I am sure that you will not only listen, but will do everything possible to save Europe, Ukraine and the whole democratic world from this bloody and authoritarian invasion. Therefore, I recommend disabling Russian Federation sites from CloudFlare and using your services to block the ability to do so. »
But in a blog post, Prince said on Monday that his company would not comply with the request. He said that for Russians to receive information outside of public channels, they need access to sources inside the country that can provide it.
“We have received several calls to terminate all Cloudflare services within Russia. We have carefully reviewed these requests and discussed them with experts from government and civil society. Our conclusion, in consultation with these experts, is that That Russia needs more Internet access, not less,” the prince wrote.
“As the conflict continues, we have seen a dramatic increase in requests from Russian networks to global media, reflecting the desire of ordinary Russian citizens to see world news beyond what is provided in Russia. »
“By terminating the service will not harm the Russian government, but will limit access to information outside the country and make those using us more vulnerable to security when criticizing the government. . »
“In fact, we think that the Russian government would welcome the closure of Cloudflare services in Russia. »
However, the company has cut off access to its payment services in “globally accepted regions.” And it cut off access to clients linked to the sanctions, “including those linked to Russian financial institutions, Russian influence campaigns and the Donetsk and Luhansk governments affiliated with Russia,” Prince said.
Cloudflare also announced free services from fellow cybersecurity firms CrowdStrike and Ping Identity, as well as free services for US companies that could face backlash from Russian hackers for backing Ukraine.
Fedorov’s department had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication. DDoS attacks by its IT force have had mixed results in terms of website shutdowns. The analysis by cybersecurity researcher Chris Partridge (working outside his job at Amazon) listed targets that were closed or open to attacks. “This is a decisive success in the sense that most of the sites I follow have been at least temporarily disrupted, imposing a cost on the site operator,” he told Forbes. “However, there are places where Ukraine clearly can’t hit hard enough to shake a site. Cryptocurrency sites using Cloudflare are almost fully operational. »
Cloudflare has often found itself in the crosshairs for providing services that some consider to be offensive or dangerous content providers. In one of the most famous examples where Cloudflare has starred, it stopped serving the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer in 2017 after a woman died during a Charlottesville protest. In 2019, the company ceased services to 8chan, a platform popular with far-flung communities.
Translated from Forbes US – Author: Thomas Brewster
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