CloudFlare acquires VPN service CryptoSeal, shuts it down

CloudFlare acquires VPN startup, closes it down but keeps hold of its Trusted Computing technology.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Website optimisation company CloudFlare has acquired CryptoSeal, a provider of virtual private network (VPN) services to businesses.

Announcing the acquisition, CloudFlare's CEO Matthew Prince said it began shutting down CryptoSeal's VPN service last week and plans to fully retire the service by 30 June.

CryptoSeal launched a cloud-based consumer and business VPN product early last year, however the company shuttered the consumer version last October following the closure of encrypted email service Lavabit.

CryptoSeal's co-founder Ryan Lackey explained at the time it shut the consumer service after the Lavabit case revealed it could be forced to hand over the cryptographic keys to its entire system to authorities. 

According to Prince, CryptoSeal's technology was the reverse of its own in the sense that CloudFlare acts as "reverse proxy", while the CryptoSeal VPN functioned as a "forward proxy".

"Where CloudFlare's customers are websites, CryptoSeal's are web surfers," said Prince.

CloudFlare has become a popular services for websites seeking protection from denial of service attacks.

While CloudFlare has shutdown CryptoSeal's VPN remaining service, Prince said the company is interested in its other security technologies.

"Beyond the company's work in VPNs, CryptoSeal applied Trusted Computing technology to commodity servers, protecting them from compromise by outsider attackers or insider subversion, and guaranteeing the integrity of server-side applications to remote end users. This technology has clear application at CloudFlare as we build a secure edge for the internet," said Prince.

Lackay, who's joining CloudFlare as a security product manager, said CryptoSeal's main aim was to get Trusted Computing technology into commercial use.

"At CryptoSeal, we were working on using that technology for a general cloud computing solution, key management, and overlay networks. These are all fairly sophisticated, difficult to use applications, and not really directly usable by end users. I wanted to change that."

Its Trusted Computing technology will add to CloudFlare's existing lineup of anti-DDoS, caching, firewalling, and filtering technology.

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