Safe Internet League: 500 Russian CloudFlare-protected websites with child pornography blocked in 2016


Almost 500 websites hosting child pornography that were protected by a prominent US proxy service CloudFlare were blocked in January-October 2016, thanks to the Safe Internet League. All of these were hosted by Russian hosting providers, including major providers like Spaceweb and PeterHost.

CloudFlare is the largest US proxy service offering website owners increased spam, hacking, and DDoS attack protection as well as increased stability. ‘The trouble is, this protection is achieved, among other things, by IP address obfuscation. That is, it is no longer possible to find out where a website is hosted’ explained Safe Internet League Director Denis Davydov. This the reason why in 2014 Roskomnadzor warned ‘well-meaning websites’ from using CloudFlare, saying that it ‘hampers the cooperation between us and the website’s actual hosting provider and, in effect, makes it impossible to remove illegal information to restore access to blocked websites in a timely manner’.

‘In fairness, in must be said that when the case involves people distributing child pornography, which is recognised as a criminal offence of utter gravity all over the world, CloudFlare does respond to our requests and discloses the IP addresses of the offending websites’ explained Denis Davydov. ‘So, around 500 websites hosting child pornography which we were made aware of were protected by CloudFlare. We contacted the company and obtained real IP addresses of these websites. This enabled us to determine which hosting providers they were using. These were Russian companies, and some of the largest, like Spaceweb and PeterHost, among them. The websites in question were shut down through pre-trial mechanisms by the hosting providers themselves.’

The Safe Internet League went on to note that information about all the websites uncovered was duly forwarded to the K Department of the Russian Interior Ministry for their owners to be identified.