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Israel is currently using the services of a startup called CloudFlare to protect its official web sites from hackers. Both the country’s government websites and commercial websites have suffered through hacks which saw negative or inflammatory comments uploaded to them in the past. Hamas only just took responsibility for such a cyber-attack this week.
The concept behind the technology is simple: If the location of a website’s servers can be hidden from the public then would be hackers will not know where to go to find it. The company does actually host any websites itself, but instead it provides a reverse proxy address, which masks the IP addresses of its customers.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also uses the service to protect his personal website. The Israeli Defense forces are also taking advantage of the new technology and as a result have succeeded in avoiding a number of attempted hacks on their systems that were made since the current conflict began. Hundreds of Israeli private companies are its customers as well.
Hamas is also taking advantage of the service for its websites.
The company’s CEO Mathew Prince told Reuters in response to allegations that it should not be helping both Israel and Hamas at the same time that “Both sides have an absolute right to tell their story. We’re not providing material support for anybody. We’re not sending money, or helping people arm themselves.”
Under the tag line “Give us five minutes and we’ll supercharge your website, ” CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once a website is affiliated with it, its web traffic is routed through their global network. The service also automatically optimizes the delivery of web pages so visitors get the fastest page loading times. It blocks threats and limits abusive bots and crawlers from wasting bandwidth and server resources.
The company boasts that “CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.”
The company has been controversial since its clients include terrorist organizations like Hamas. Others point out that like similar services such as Tor, it can aid criminals avoid detection when they engage in illegal activities on line.
CloudFlare’s defenders maintain that it provides an important service not only protecting legitimates businesses and governments from having their web sites hacked, but also securing the free flow of information by protecting people’s identities. All technologies, they assert, can be used for crime.