CloudFlare acquires enterprise VPN provider CryptoSeal

CloudFlare said the company's technology will help it build more secure networks

CloudFlare has acquired CryptoSeal, a provider of VPN (virtual-private-network) services for businesses, in a deal it says will extend its security services to Web users.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CloudFlare began to shut down CryptoSeal's service last week after the acquisition was finalized, and the service will be fully retired by June 30, wrote Matthew Prince, CloudFlare's CEO.

CryptoSeal's co-founder, Ryan Lackey, will join CloudFlare as a security product manager.

CryptoSeal offered a VPN service for businesses called "Connect." VPNs are a crucial security tool for enterprises, encrypting data traffic between two servers. If the traffic is intercepted by an attacker, it is unreadable unless the attacker can also obtain the private encryption keys.

The company focused on providing a VPN service for cloud-based applications without on-premise hardware. Connect was compatible with a variety of desktop and mobile clients, according to CryptoSeal's website.

CloudFlare provides a popular service that protects websites from distributed denial-of-service and other attacks, using its global network of data centers to detect and filter attack traffic and keep websites online through extensive caching.

Prince wrote that CloudFlare is essentially a reverse proxy, while CryptoSeal does the opposite for end users. Although Prince didn't provide a road map for CloudFlare's plans for CryptoSeal, he wrote that by "joining forces, we believe there are exciting opportunities to help build a better Internet end-to-end."

Last October CryptoSeal shut down a consumer VPN service called CryptoSeal Privacy. Lackey said at the time the shutdown came as a result of the legal action against Lavabit, the email provider used by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Lavabit was forced to turn over the private SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) key that encrypted the traffic of all of its customers. Although founder Ladar Levison fought the order on grounds it could compromise all of his customers, the bid failed.

CryptoSeal explained on its website after the shutdown of the service that it feared the government could force it to turn over its cryptographic keys if it cannot comply with a pen register order, which asks for certain information on users' communications.

It left Connect running, however. Those customers have a different risk profile and opt into corporate monitoring, which is expected in regulated industries, Lackey said at the time.

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