CloudFlare acquires StopTheHacker malware scanning service

CloudFlare will continue to run StopTheHacker as normal while working on a longer-term integration

CloudFlare said Monday it plans to acquire StopTheHacker, a malware scanning service that the company said will prevent its content distribution system from being used to spread malicious software.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CloudFlare, which was already working with StopTheHacker, decided acquiring the company was better than an extended partnership, wrote CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince in a blog post. StopTheHacker customers won't see any changes to their service, and CloudFlare plans to continue to invest in StopTheHacker and run its service, he wrote.

San Francisco-based CloudFlare runs a global content delivery network that keeps copies of websites in various data centers in order to speed loading times and reduce bandwidth usage. Its basic plan is free, but at times the service has been abused by cybercriminals seeking the same kind of benefits that legitimate websites get from it.

"One of the challenges we face is ensuring that our network is not used to more efficiently distribute malware," Prince wrote.

StopTheHacker offers several annual subscription packages for its malware scanning service, which combs Web pages for malicious attacks. If a customer chooses, StopTheHacker can also remove the malware.

The company also keeps in touch with major search engines to see if sites have been blacklisted. Google and Microsoft will either block or warn users if malware is detected on a website.

Prince wrote that when networks become larger, patrolling those systems for malware becomes an increasing priority.

"When networks get to a certain scale, they inevitably need to focus on proactively dealing with this challenge," he wrote. "We're not alone in investing in this area. For instance, Google recently acquired VirusTotal and Twitter acquired Dasient in order to beef up their anti-malware technologies and teams."

Anirban Banerjee, CTO and co-founder of StopTheHacker, wrote that the companies are "evaluating how best to merge our technologies and will share more details in the future."

Prince provided a few more details on their plans. The two services will eventually be integrated, which will allow CloudFlare to provide fast malware remediation and "instant patching services to clean up infections and eliminate vulnerabilities immediately and without having to wait for a code change," Prince wrote.

"In addition, our extensive infrastructure gives StopTheHacker a scale and efficiency that blows everything else in the malware scanning market away," Prince wrote.

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