Donate for the Cryptome archive of files from June 1996 to the present

8 July 2012

CloudFlare Watch

Daniel Brandt writes:

I have a new website:

As you probably know, is down forever, due to massive DDoSing that took down seven dedicated servers from mid-December 2011 to mid-February 2012.

The three different hosting providers behind those seven servers couldn't take the collateral damage to their edge routers or switches slightly upstream of my dedicated boxes. This was shared hardware and the DDoS saturated them, off and on, and my sites were the targets. My hosting providers soon refused to reconnect me.

Google was also ramping up their throttling of beginning in March 2011. That's when they installed a new system that was able to detect excessive traffic from individual IPs across all their data centers collectively, in near real-time.

I had been using up to 9,000 different Google IP addresses randomly across my servers. This seemed to help me fly under their radar for years. But beginning in March 2011, the new Google system created problems for Scroogle, because each of my servers showed Google a single IP address that I was unable to change. With the combination of the DDoS and the Google throttling, it was time to call it quits on

I've brought back my other sites on a home server, now that post-Scroogle, the bandwidth requirements are modest for me. is back, but without some advanced search features that attracted too many bots. is missing the pages that identified a few hundred anonymous administrators over several years (which created enemies for me), but the rest of it is back. is now merely a gallery of the cartoons that used to be on and are back in their entirety.

My interest in CloudFlare came from my battle with Encyclopedia Dramatica. This started in mid-2010 with a bio on me on that Sherrod DeGrippo refused to take down when I asked her nicely. So I helped a friend start the site to research the anonymous admins behind ED. It had some impact -- was abandoned by DeGrippo in April 2011, in favor of a mild meme site at

At that point Ryan Cleary, who is now in jail in the UK, instantly started up by stealing archived copies of old articles and images. He started hiding behind CloudFlare from the beginning, which meant that research was required to identify the server that was feeding into CloudFlare. We did manage to get's attention -- at least a half-dozen times they hopped to a new server as we figured out where they were, and published our research on Then the complaints from victims would arrive at the current hosting provider feeding CloudFlare.

About half of the providers responded as far as we know, and the server would soon get moved. All but one of these new servers were located in places like Germany, Ukraine, France, and Sweden. Now they are in Romania.

Cleary was arrested on June 21, 2011 but a couple of his former cronies, who are well-versed in the art of chaining VPN accounts, have been able to keep going. They lost the domain last March due to a court order served on the SWITCH registry in Switzerland, and had to register a new domain, They have yet to recover fully, in terms of traffic levels, from this domain change.

Without CloudFlare, they could not afford the bandwidth expenses that would have to be paid out to keep online. There are over 10,000 articles on and each one has several images. That's when I began questioning CloudFlare's entire mode of operation, and started this new site.


Daniel Brandt, president
Public Information Research
(a tax-exempt, nonprofit public charity)


Public Information Research, PO Box 680635, San Antonio TX 78268-0635