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Anonymous accuses web service CloudFlare of helping Islamic State

CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince said the accusation is "absurd."

By
Amy R. Connolly
Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes mask participate in the Million Mask March, an anti-establishment protest held across the globe Nov. 5. The march, allegedly organized by Anonymous, the “hacktivist” group linked to cyber-attacks against governments and multi-national corporations, aims at protesting government overreach and corporate greed, among other grievances. Anonymous on Thursday accused cybersecurity firm CloudFlare of supporting the Islamic State by providing services to websites claiming to be associated with the militant group. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes mask participate in the Million Mask March, an anti-establishment protest held across the globe Nov. 5. The march, allegedly organized by Anonymous, the “hacktivist” group linked to cyber-attacks against governments and multi-national corporations, aims at protesting government overreach and corporate greed, among other grievances. Anonymous on Thursday accused cybersecurity firm CloudFlare of supporting the Islamic State by providing services to websites claiming to be associated with the militant group. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- The war of words between Anonymous and anything Islamic State affiliated took another turn Thursday when the loosely organized hacker collective accused a Silicon Valley Internet security startup of supporting the militant group.

Hacker group Anonymous said CloudFlare is helping the IS by protecting against distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks, which aim to overwhelm a website with traffic so it collapses. Such attacks have been popular among hackers associated with Anonymous.

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A Twitter user posting as an Anonymous member said, "Once again, @CloudFlare have been found to be providing services to pro-#IslamicState websites. Shameful. #OpISIS #Daesh #Anonymous"

CloudFlare CEO Matthew Price shot back, calling the harsh words "hard to take seriously" and "absurd." He said hosting content on the company's network should not be considered an endorsement, but it's not company philosophy to stop providing service to websites just because they may be disagreeable

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"I'd suggest this was armchair analysis by kids -- it's hard to take seriously. Anonymous uses us for some of its sites, despite pressure from some quarters for us to take Anonymous sites offline," he told The Register.

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Price said if "a U.S. authority told us to terminate any of them as a customer, we would. But the world is often complicated."

"Some things that look like ISIS may not actually be ISIS," he said referring to the group that also goes by the name ISIL and Daesh. "I can't go into much more detail than that. But you can imagine how -- if you are an organization trying to disrupt ISIS -- you may in fact want to monitor people who self-identify as ISIS members."

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Anonymous earlier this week declared "total war" on the IS, encouraging its followers to launch cyberstrikes on the militant group in response to the attacks in Paris that left at least 129 people dead. The IS, which took responsibility for the Paris attacks, brushed aside the threats, calling the hacker group "idiots."

Anonymous has launched several cyberattacks against groups that include Paypal, Mastercard and the Church of Scientology. The group took down a French jihadist website earlier this year after 12 people were killed in attacks at the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store.

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