Author Archives: Sam Rhea
Author Archives: Sam Rhea
Earlier today, Cloudflare announced that we have acquired Vectrix, a cloud-access security broker (CASB) company focused on solving the problem of control and visibility in the SaaS applications and public cloud providers that your team uses.
We are excited to welcome the Vectrix team and their technology to the Cloudflare Zero Trust product group. We don’t believe a CASB should be a point solution. Instead, the features of a CASB should be one component of a comprehensive Zero Trust deployment. Each piece of technology, CASB included, should work better together than they would as a standalone product.
We know that this migration is a journey for most customers. That’s true for our own team at Cloudflare, too. We’ve built our own Zero Trust platform to solve problems for customers at any stage of that journey.
Several years ago, we protected the internal resources that Cloudflare employees needed by creating a private network with hardware appliances. We deployed applications in a data center and made them available to this network. Users inside the San Francisco office connected to a secure Wi-Fi network that placed them on the network.
For everyone else, we punched a Continue reading
The vulnerability disclosed yesterday in the Java-based logging package, log4j, allows attackers to execute code on a remote server. We’ve updated Cloudflare’s WAF to defend your infrastructure against this 0-day attack. The attack also relies on exploiting servers that are allowed unfettered connectivity to the public Internet. To help solve that challenge, your team can deploy Cloudflare One today to filter and log how your infrastructure connects to any destination.
You can read about the vulnerability in more detail in our analysis published earlier today, but the attack starts when an attacker adds a specific string to input that the server logs. Today’s updates to Cloudflare’s WAF block that malicious string from being sent to your servers. We still strongly recommend that you patch your instances of log4j immediately to prevent lateral movement.
If the string has already been logged, the vulnerability compromises servers by tricking them into sending a request to a malicious LDAP server. The destination of the malicious server could be any arbitrary URL. Attackers who control that URL can then respond to the request with arbitrary code that the server can execute.
At the time of this blog, it Continue reading
Starting today, your team can create a private network on Cloudflare’s network. Team members click a single button to connect to private IPs in environments that you control. Cloudflare’s network routes their connection through a data center in one of over 200 cities around the world. On the other side, administrators deploy a lightweight software connector that replaces traditional VPN appliances.
Cloudflare’s private network combines IP level connectivity and Zero Trust controls. Thick clients like RDP software, SMB file viewers, or other programs can connect to the private IPs already in use in your deployment without any additional configuration. Coming soon, you’ll be able to layer additional identity-based network-level rules to control which users, from which devices, can reach specific IPs.
We are launching this feature as a follow-up to Cloudflare’s Developer Week because we are excited to give your development team, and your entire organization, a seamless platform for building and connecting your internal resources. We built this solution based on feedback from customers who want to move to a Zero Trust model without sacrificing some of the convenience of a private network.
We’re excited to give any team the ability to run their internal network on Cloudflare’s global Continue reading
Today, we’re excited to announce that your team can use Cloudflare’s network to build Zero Trust controls over the data in your enterprise - wherever it lives and however it moves.
Stopping data loss is difficult for any team and that challenge has become harder as users have left offices and data has left on-premise storage centers. Enterprises can no longer build a simple castle-and-moat around their data. Users now connect from any location on the planet to applications that live in environments outside of that enterprise’s control.
We have talked to hundreds of customers who have resorted to applying stopgap measures to try and maintain that castle-and-moat model in some form, but each of those band-aids slow down their users or drive up costs - or both. Almost all of the short-term options available combine point solutions that ultimately force traffic to backhaul through a central location.
Part of Cloudflare One, Cloudflare’s approach to data loss prevention relies on the same infrastructure and global network that accelerates user traffic to the Internet to also perform inline inspection against all traffic regardless of how it arrives on our network.
We also know that enterprises need more than just scanning Continue reading
Today, we’re very excited to announce our plans for Cloudflare Intrusion Detection System, a new product that monitors your network and alerts when an attack is suspected. With deep integration into Cloudflare One, Cloudflare Intrusion Detection System gives you a bird’s eye view of your entire global network and inspects all traffic for bad behavior, regardless of whether it came from outside or inside your network.
Enterprises build firewall rules to keep their networks safe from external and internal threats. When bad actors try to attack a network, those firewalls check if the attack matches a rule pattern. If it does, the firewall steps in and blocks the attack.
Teams used to configure those rules across physical firewall appliances, frequently of different makes and models, deployed to physical locations. Yesterday, we announced Magic Firewall, Cloudflare’s network-level firewall delivered in our data centers around the world. Your team can write a firewall rule once, deploy it to Cloudflare, and our global network will protect your offices and data centers without the need for on-premises hardware.
This is great if you know where attacks are coming from. If you don’t have that level Continue reading
Cloudflare secures your origin servers by proxying requests to your DNS records through our anycast network and to the external IP of your origin. However, external IP addresses can provide attackers with a path around Cloudflare security if they discover those destinations.
We launched Argo Tunnel as a secure way to connect your origin to Cloudflare without a publicly routable IP address. With Tunnel, you don’t send traffic to an external IP. Instead, a lightweight daemon runs in your infrastructure and creates outbound-only connections to Cloudflare’s edge. With Argo Tunnel, you can quickly deploy infrastructure in a Zero Trust model by ensuring all requests to your resources pass through Cloudflare’s security filters.
Originally, your Argo Tunnel connection corresponded to a DNS record in your account. Requests to that hostname hit Cloudflare’s network first and our edge sends those requests over the Argo Tunnel to your origin. Since these connections are outbound-only, you no longer need to poke holes in your infrastructure’s firewall. Your origins can serve traffic through Cloudflare without being vulnerable to attacks that bypass Cloudflare.
However, fitting an outbound-only connection into a reverse proxy creates some ergonomic and stability hurdles. The original Argo Tunnel architecture attempted to both Continue reading
We built Cloudflare Access™ as a tool to solve a problem we had inside of Cloudflare. We rely on a set of applications to manage and monitor our network. Some of these are popular products that we self-host, like the Atlassian suite, and others are tools we built ourselves. We deployed those applications on a private network. To reach them, you had to either connect through a secure WiFi network in a Cloudflare office, or use a VPN.
That VPN added friction to how we work. We had to dedicate part of Cloudflare’s onboarding just to teaching users how to connect. If someone received a PagerDuty alert, they had to rush to their laptop and sit and wait while the VPN connected. Team members struggled to work while mobile. New offices had to backhaul their traffic. In 2017 and early 2018, our IT team triaged hundreds of help desk tickets with titles like these:
While our IT team wrestled with usability issues, our Security team decided that poking holes in our private network was too much of a risk to maintain. Once on the VPN, users almost always had too much access. We had limited visibility into what happened on Continue reading
Your team members are probably not just working from home - they may be working from different regions or countries. The flexibility of remote work gives employees a chance to work from the towns where they grew up or countries they always wanted to visit. However, that distribution also presents compliance challenges.
Depending on your industry, keeping data inside of certain regions can be a compliance or regulatory requirement. You might require employees to connect from certain countries or exclude entire countries altogether from your corporate systems.
When we worked in physical offices, keeping data inside of a country was easy. All of your users connecting to an application from that office were, of course, in that country. Remote work changed that and teams had to scramble to find a way to keep people productive from anywhere, which often led to sacrifices in terms of compliance. Starting today, you can make geography-based compliance easy again in Cloudflare Access with just two clicks.
You can now build rules that require employees to connect from certain countries. You can also add rules that block team members from connecting from other countries. This feature works with any identity provider configured and requires no Continue reading
Last month, attackers compromised a Twitter team member’s access to an internal administrative panel in order to take over high-profile accounts. Full details of the breach are still pending, but Twitter has shared that the attackers stole credentials through a coordinated spear phishing attack.
The attackers convinced a team member to share login permissions, giving the attackers the ability to access the Twitter control plane. Once authenticated, they sent password reset flows to email accounts they controlled in order to hijack the Twitter accounts.
Administrative panels like Twitter’s are a rich target for phishing attacks because they give attackers a backdoor to privileged systems. Customer-facing teams at SaaS companies rely on these administrative panels to update end-user data and troubleshoot user account issues. If an attacker can compromise a single team member’s account they can potentially impact thousands of end users.
We have our own administrative panel at Cloudflare and we’ve deployed a number of safeguards over the last several years to keep it secure from phishing attacks. However, we had no way to enforce the security feature we think would most insulate us from phishing attacks: physical hard keys.
With hard keys, users can only login when they use Continue reading
Like many people, I have spent a lot more time at home in the last several weeks. I use the free version of Cloudflare Gateway, part of Cloudflare for Teams, to secure the Internet-connected devices on my WiFi network. In the last week, Gateway has processed about 114,000 DNS queries from those devices and blocked nearly 100 as potential security risks.
I can search those requests in the Cloudflare for Teams UI. The logs capture the hostname requested, the time of the request, and Gateway’s decision to allow or block. This works fine for one-off investigations into a block, but does not help if I want to analyze the data more thoroughly. The last thing I want to do is click through hundreds or thousands of pages.
That problem is even more difficult for organizations attempting to keep hundreds or thousands of users and their devices secure. Whether they secure roaming devices with DoH or a static IP address, or keep users safe as they return to offices, deployments at that scale need a better option for auditing tens or hundreds of millions of queries each week.
Starting today, you can configure the automatic export of logs from Cloudflare Gateway Continue reading
When Cloudflare first launched in 2010, network security still relied heavily on physical security. To connect to a private network, most users simply needed to be inside the walls of the office. Once on that network, users could connect to corporate applications and infrastructure.
When users left the office, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) became a bandaid to let users connect back into that office network. Administrators poked holes in their firewall that allowed traffic to route back through headquarters. The backhaul degraded user experience and organizations had no visibility into patterns and events that occurred once users were on the network.
Cloudflare Access launched two years ago to replace that model with an identity-based solution built on Cloudflare’s global network. Instead of a private network, teams secure applications with Cloudflare’s network. Cloudflare checks every request to those applications for identity, rather than IP ranges, and accelerates those connections using the same network that powers some of the world’s largest web properties.
In this zero-trust model, Cloudflare Access checks identity on every request - not just the initial login to a VPN client. Administrators build rules that Cloudflare’s network continuously enforces. Each request is evaluated for permission and logged for Continue reading
Cloudflare Access, part of Cloudflare for Teams, replaces legacy corporate VPNs with Cloudflare’s global network. Instead of starting a VPN client to backhaul traffic through an office, users visit the hostname of an internal application and login with your team’s SSO provider. While the applications feel like SaaS apps for end users, your security and IT departments can configure granular controls and audit logging in a single place.
Since Access launched two years ago, customers have been able to integrate multiple SSO providers at the same time. This MultiSSO option makes it seamless for teams to have employees login with Okta or Azure AD while partners and contractors use LinkedIN or GitHub.
The integrations always applied globally. Users would see all SSO options when connecting to any application protected by Cloudflare Access. As more organizations use Cloudflare Access to connect distributed and mixed workforces to resources, listing every provider on every app no longer scales.
For example, your team might have an internal GitLab instance that only employees need to access using your corporate G Suite login. Meanwhile, the marketing department needs to share QA versions of new sites with an external agency who authenticates with LinkedIn. Asking both Continue reading
Phishing attacks begin like any other visit to a site on the Internet. A user opens a suspicious link from an email, and their DNS resolver looks up the hostname, then connects the user to the origin.
Cloudflare Gateway’s secure DNS blocks threats like this by checking every hostname query against a constantly-evolving list of known threats on the Internet. Instead of sending the user to the malicious host, Gateway stops the site from resolving. The user sees a “blocked domain” page instead of the malicious site itself.
As teams migrate to SaaS applications and zero-trust solutions, they rely more on the public Internet to do their jobs. Gateway's security works like a bouncer, keeping users safe as they navigate the Internet. However, some organizations still need to send traffic to internal destinations for testing or as a way to make the migration more seamless.
Starting today, you can use Cloudflare Gateway to direct end user traffic to a different IP than the one they originally requested. Administrators can build rules to override the address that would be returned by a resolver and send traffic to a specified alternative.
Like the security features of Cloudflare Gateway, the redirect function is Continue reading
Starting today, Cloudflare Access can now be used in the Cloudflare for Teams dashboard. You can manage security policies for your people and devices in the same place that you build zero-trust rules to protect your applications and resources. Everything is now in one place in a single dashboard.
We are excited to launch a new UI that can be used across the entire Teams platform, but we didn’t build this dashboard just for the sake of a new look-and-feel. While migrating the Access dashboard, we focused on solving one of the largest sources of user confusion in the product.
This post breaks down why the original UI caused some headaches, how we think about objects in Cloudflare for Teams, and how we set out to fix the way we display that to our users.
Cloudflare Access is one-half of Cloudflare for Teams, a security platform that runs on Cloudflare’s network. Teams protects users, devices and data without compromising experience or performance. We built Cloudflare Access to solve our own headaches with private networks as we grew from a team concentrated in a single office to a globally distributed organization.
Cloudflare Access replaces corporate VPNs with Cloudflare’s Continue reading
Starting today, you can use Cloudflare Access and Argo Tunnel to securely manage your Kubernetes cluster with the kubectl command-line tool.
We built this to address one of the edge cases that stopped all of Cloudflare, as well as some of our customers, from disabling the VPN. With this workflow, you can add SSO requirements and a zero-trust model to your Kubernetes management in under 30 minutes.
Once deployed, you can migrate to Cloudflare Access for controlling Kubernetes clusters without disrupting your current
kubectl workflow, a lesson we learned the hard way from dogfooding here at Cloudflare.
A Kubernetes deployment consists of a cluster that contains nodes, which run the containers, as well as a control plane that can be used to manage those nodes. Central to that control plane is the Kubernetes API server, which interacts with components like the scheduler and manager.
kubectl is the Kubernetes command-line tool that developers can use to interact with that API server. Users run
kubectl commands to perform actions like starting and stopping the nodes, or modifying other elements of the control plane.
In most deployments, users connect to a VPN that allows them to run commands against that Continue reading
Cloudflare Access, part of Cloudflare for Teams, replaces legacy corporate VPNs with Cloudflare’s global network. Using your existing identity provider, Access enables your end users to login from anywhere — without a clunky agent or traffic backhaul through a centralized appliance or VPN.
Today, we are open sourcing a plugin that continues to improve that experience by making it easier for teams to use Cloudflare Access with one of the software industry’s most popular engineering tools, Sentry.
Sentry is an application that helps software teams find and diagnose errors in their products. We use Sentry here at Cloudflare. When you encounter an error when using a Cloudflare product, like our dashboard, we log that event. We then use Sentry to determine what went wrong.
Sentry can categorize and roll up errors, making it easy to identify new problems before investigating them with the tool’s event logging. Engineering managers here can use the dashboards to monitor the health of a new release. Product managers often use those reports as part of prioritizing what to fix next. Engineers on our team can dig into the individual errors as they release a fix.
Sentry is available in two forms: Continue reading
Cloudflare employs more than 1,200 people in 13 different offices and maintains a network that operates in 200 cities. To do that, we used to suffer through a traditional corporate VPN that backhauled traffic through a physical VPN appliance. It was, frankly, horrible to work with as a user or IT person.
With today’s mix of on-prem, public cloud and SaaS and a workforce that needs to work from anywhere, be it a coffee shop or home, that model is no longer sustainable. As we grew in headcount, we were spending too much time resolving VPN helpdesk tickets. As offices around the world opened, we could not ask our workforce to sit as every connection had to go back through a central location.
We also had to be ready to scale. Some organizations are currently scrambling to load test their own VPN in the event that their entire workforce needs to work remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak. We could not let a single physical appliance constrain our ability to deliver 26M Internet properties to audiences around the world.
To run a network like Cloudflare, we needed to use Cloudflare’s network to stay fast and secure.
We built Cloudflare Access, part Continue reading
The novel coronavirus is actively changing how organizations work in real-time. According to Fortune, the virus has led to the “world’s largest work-from-home experiment.” As the epidemic crosses borders, employees are staying home and putting new stress on how companies manage remote work.
This is only accelerating an existing trend, however. Remote work has gained real traction in the last decade and Gartner projects that it will only continue. However, teams which are moving to a distributed model tend to do so slowly. When those timelines are accelerated, IT and security administrators need to be able to help their workforce respond without disrupting their team members.
Cloudflare Access can help teams migrate to a model that makes it seamless for users to work from any location, or any device, without the need for lengthy migrations or onboarding sessions. Cloudflare Access can be deployed in less than one hour and bring SaaS-like convenience and speed to the self-hosted applications that previously lived behind a VPN.
When users share a physical space, working on a private network is easy. Users do not need clunky VPN clients to connect to the resources they need. Team members physically sit close Continue reading
I keep a very detailed budget. I have for the last 7 years. I manually input every expense into a spreadsheet app and use a combination of
sumifs functions to track spending.
Opening the spreadsheet app, and then the specific spreadsheet, every time that I want to submit an expense is a little clunky. I'm working on a new project to make that easier. I'm building a simple web app, with a very basic form, into which I will enter one-off expenses. This form will then append those expenses as rows into the budget workbook.
I want to lock down this project; I prefer that I am the only person with the power to wreck my budget. To do that, I'm going to use Cloudflare Access. With Access, I can require a login to reach the page - no server-side changes required.
Except, I don't want to allow logins from any device. For this project, I want to turn my iPhone into the only device that can reach this app.
To do that, I'll use Cloudflare Access in combination with an open source toolkit from Cloudflare,
cfssl. Together, I can convert my device into a secure key for this application Continue reading
Cloudflare Access secures internal applications without the hassle, slowness or user headache of a corporate VPN. Access brings the experience we all cherish, of being able to access web sites anywhere, any time from any device, to the sometimes dreary world of corporate applications. Teams can integrate the single sign-on (SSO) option, like Okta or AzureAD, that they’ve chosen to use and in doing so make on-premise or self-managed cloud applications feel like SaaS apps.
However, teams consist of more than just the internal employees that share an identity provider. Organizations work with partners, freelancers, and contractors. Extending access to external users becomes a constant chore for IT and security departments and is a source of security problems.
Cloudflare Access removes that friction by simultaneously integrating with multiple identity providers, including popular services like Gmail or GitHub that do not require corporate subscriptions. External users login with these accounts and still benefit from the same ease-of-use available to internal employees. Meanwhile, administrators avoid the burden in legacy deployments that require onboarding and offboarding new accounts for each project.
We are excited to announce two new integrations that make it even easier for organizations to work securely with third parties. Starting Continue reading