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Getting Cloudflare Tunnels to connect to the Cloudflare Network with QUIC

Getting Cloudflare Tunnels to connect to the Cloudflare Network with QUIC
Getting Cloudflare Tunnels to connect to the Cloudflare Network with QUIC

I work on Cloudflare Tunnel, which lets customers quickly connect their private services and networks through the Cloudflare network without having to expose their public IPs or ports through their firewall. Tunnel is managed for users by cloudflared, a tool that runs on the same network as the private services. It proxies traffic for these services via Cloudflare, and users can then access these services securely through the Cloudflare network.

Recently, I was trying to get Cloudflare Tunnel to connect to the Cloudflare network using a UDP protocol, QUIC. While doing this, I ran into an interesting connectivity problem unique to UDP. In this post I will talk about how I went about debugging this connectivity issue beyond the land of firewalls, and how some interesting differences between UDP and TCP came into play when sending network packets.

How does Cloudflare Tunnel work?

Getting Cloudflare Tunnels to connect to the Cloudflare Network with QUIC

cloudflared works by opening several connections to different servers on the Cloudflare edge. Currently, these are long-lived TCP-based connections proxied over HTTP/2 frames. When Cloudflare receives a request to a hostname, it is proxied through these connections to the local service behind cloudflared.

While our HTTP/2 protocol mode works great, we’d like to improve a Continue reading

Zero Trust — Not a Buzzword

Zero Trust — Not a Buzzword
Zero Trust — Not a Buzzword

Over the last few years, Zero Trust, a term coined by Forrester, has picked up a lot of steam. Zero Trust, at its core, is a network architecture and security framework focusing on not having a distinction between external and internal access environments, and never trusting users/roles.

In the Zero Trust model, the network only delivers applications and data to authenticated and authorised users and devices, and gives organisations visibility into what is being accessed and to apply controls based on behavioural analysis. It gained popularity as the media reported on several high profile breaches caused by misuse, abuse or exploitation of VPN systems, breaches into end-users’ devices with access to other systems within the network, or breaches through third parties — either by exploiting access or compromising software repositories in order to deploy malicious code. This would later be used to provide further access into internal systems, or to deploy malware and potentially ransomware into environments well within the network perimeter.

When we first started talking to CISOs about Zero Trust, it felt like it was just a buzzword, and CISOs were bombarded with messaging from different cybersecurity vendors offering them Zero Trust solutions. Recently, another term, SASE (Secure Continue reading

Backwards-compatibility in Cloudflare Workers

Backwards-compatibility in
Cloudflare Workers
Backwards-compatibility in
Cloudflare Workers

Cloudflare Workers is our serverless platform that runs your code in 250+ cities worldwide.

On the Workers team, we have a policy:

A change to the Workers Runtime must never break an application that is live in production.

It seems obvious enough, but this policy has deep consequences. What if our API has a bug, and some deployed Workers accidentally depend on that bug? Then, seemingly, we can't fix the bug! That sounds… bad?

This post will dig deeper into our policy, explaining why Workers is different from traditional server stacks in this respect, and how we're now making backwards-incompatible changes possible by introducing "compatibility dates".

TL;DR: Developers may now opt into backwards-incompatible fixes by setting a compatibility date.

Serverless demands strict compatibility

Workers is a serverless platform, which means we maintain the server stack for you. You do not have to manage the runtime version, you only manage your own code. This means that when we update the Workers Runtime, we update it for everyone. We do this at least once a week, sometimes more.

This means that if a runtime upgrade breaks someone's application, it's really bad. The developer didn't make any change, so won't be watching for Continue reading

Crawler Hints Update: Cloudflare Supports IndexNow and Announces General Availability

Crawler Hints Update: Cloudflare Supports IndexNow and Announces General Availability
Crawler Hints Update: Cloudflare Supports IndexNow and Announces General Availability

In the midst of the hottest summer on record, Cloudflare held its first ever Impact Week. We announced a variety of products and initiatives that aim to make the Internet and our planet a better place, with a focus on environmental, social, and governance projects. Today, we’re excited to share an update on Crawler Hints, an initiative announced during Impact Week. Crawler Hints is a service that improves the operating efficiency of the approximately 45% of Internet traffic that comes from web crawlers and bots.

Crawler Hints achieves this efficiency improvement by ensuring that crawlers get information about what they’ve crawled previously and if it makes sense to crawl a website again.

Today we are excited to announce two updates for Crawler Hints:

  1. The first: Crawler Hints now supports IndexNow, a new protocol that allows websites to notify search engines whenever content on their website content is created, updated, or deleted. By collaborating with Microsoft and Yandex, Cloudflare can help improve the efficiency of their search engine infrastructure, customer origin servers, and the Internet at large.
  2. The second: Crawler Hints is now generally available to all Cloudflare customers for free. Customers can benefit from these more Continue reading

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Cloudflare Tunnel connects your infrastructure to Cloudflare. Your team runs a lightweight connector in your environment, cloudflared, and services can reach Cloudflare and your audience through an outbound-only connection without the need for opening up holes in your firewall.

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

Whether the services are internal apps protected with Zero Trust policies, websites running in Kubernetes clusters in a public cloud environment, or a hobbyist project on a Raspberry Pi — Cloudflare Tunnel provides a stable, secure, and highly performant way to serve traffic.

Starting today, with our new UI in the Cloudflare for Teams Dashboard, users who deploy and manage Cloudflare Tunnel at scale now have easier visibility into their tunnels’ status, routes, uptime, connectors, cloudflared version, and much more. On the Teams Dashboard you will also find an interactive guide that walks you through setting up your first tunnel.  

Getting Started with Tunnel

Tunnel: Cloudflare’s Newest Homeowner

We wanted to start by making the tunnel onboarding process more transparent for users. We understand that not all users are intimately familiar with the command line nor are they deploying tunnel in an environment or OS they’re most comfortable with. To alleviate that burden, we designed a comprehensive onboarding guide with pathways for MacOS, Continue reading

Introducing Cloudflare’s Technology Partner Program

Introducing Cloudflare’s Technology Partner Program

The Internet is built on a series of shared protocols, all working in harmony to deliver the collective experience that has changed the way we live and work. These open standards have created a platform such that a myriad of companies can build unique services and products that work together seamlessly. As a steward and supporter of an open Internet, we aspire to provide an interoperable platform that works with all the complementary technologies that our customers use across their technology stack. This has been the guiding principle for the multiple partnerships we have launched over the last few years.  

One example is our Bandwidth Alliance — launched in 2018, this alliance with 18 cloud and storage providers aims to reduce egress fees, also known as data transfer fees, for our customers. The Bandwidth Alliance has broken the norms of the cloud industry so that customers can move data more freely. Since then, we have launched several technology partner programs with over 40+ partners, including:

  • Analytics — Visualize Cloudflare logs and metrics easily, and help customers better understand events and trends from websites and applications on the Cloudflare network.
  • Network Interconnect — Partnerships with best-in-class Interconnection platforms offer private, Continue reading

Kicking Off Cloudflare’s Summer 2022 Internship Program

Kicking Off Cloudflare's Summer 2022 Internship Program
Kicking Off Cloudflare's Summer 2022 Internship Program

Fall is my favorite season for numerous reasons: the change in temperature, pumpkin spice flavored...everything, and of course, the start of the university recruitment cycle. I am excited to announce Cloudflare has begun hiring for our Summer 2022 internship program. We just opened many of our internship roles on our careers website and will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis. We are looking for Software Engineer, Product Management, Research, Data Science interns and more. We also have a host of virtual events and tech talks to engage prospective students throughout October and November. Find our event lineup below and RSVP through the attached links by clicking on the event titles.

Session
Date Time
Inside Look: Hiring Software Engineering Interns and New Grads October 15, 2021 10:00-10:45 PT
Inside Look: Cloudflare’s Intern Hiring Process October 19, 2021 11:15-12:00 PT
Inside Look: Nativeflare October 27, 2021 10:45-11:30 PT
Inside Look: Cloudflare’s Intern Experiences October 28, 2021 13:00-13:45 PT
Inside Look: Cloudflare’s Culture November 11, 2021 13:00-13:30 PT

*We have many more events coming up later in the fall and early spring 2022, join our community here for news and updates from us!

In September, Cloudflare kicked off our fall Continue reading

“Look, Ma, no probes!” — Characterizing CDNs’ latencies with passive measurement

“Look, Ma, no probes!” — Characterizing CDNs’ latencies with passive measurement
“Look, Ma, no probes!” — Characterizing CDNs’ latencies with passive measurement

Something that comes up a lot at Cloudflare is how well our network and systems are performing. Like many service providers, we need to be engaged in a constant process of introspection to evaluate aspects of Cloudflare’s service with respect to customers, within our own network and systems and, as was the case in a recent blog post, the clients (such as web browsers). Many of these questions are obvious, but answering them is decisive in opening paths to new and improved services. The important point here is that it’s relatively straightforward to monitor and assess aspects of our service we can see or measure directly.

However, for certain aspects of our performance we may not have access to the necessary data, for a number of reasons. For instance, the data sources may be outside our network perimeter, or we may avoid collecting certain measurements that would violate the privacy of end users. In particular, the questions below are important to gain a better understanding of our performance, but harder to answer due to limitations in data availability:

  • How much better (or worse!) are we doing compared to other service providers (CDNs) by being in certain locations?
  • Can Continue reading

Multi-User IP Address Detection

Multi-User IP Address Detection
Multi-User IP Address Detection

Cloudflare provides our customers with security tools that help them protect their Internet applications against malicious or undesired traffic. Malicious traffic can include scraping content from a website, spamming form submissions, and a variety of other cyberattacks. To protect themselves from these types of threats while minimizing the blocking of legitimate site visitors, Cloudflare’s customers need to be able to identify traffic that might be malicious.

We know some of our customers rely on IP addresses to distinguish between traffic from legitimate users and potentially malicious users. However, in many cases the IP address of a request does not correspond to a particular user or even device. Furthermore, Cloudflare believes that in the long term, the IP address will be an even more unreliable signal for identifying the origin of a request. We envision a day where IP will be completely unassociated with identity. With that vision in mind, multi-user IP address detection represents our first step: pointing out situations where the IP address of a request cannot be assumed to be a single user. This gives our customers the ability to make more judicious decisions when responding to traffic from an IP address, instead of indiscriminately treating that traffic Continue reading

Geo Key Manager: Setting up a service for scale

Geo Key Manager: Setting up a service for scale

In 2017, we launched Geo Key Manager, a service that allows Cloudflare customers to choose where they store their TLS certificate private keys. For example, if a US customer only wants its private keys stored in US data centers, we can make that happen. When a user from Tokyo makes a request to this website or API, it first hits the Tokyo data center. As the Tokyo data center lacks access to the private key, it contacts a data center in the US to terminate the TLS request. Once the TLS session is established, the Tokyo data center can serve future requests. For a detailed description of how this works, refer to this post on Geo Key Manager.

This is a story about the evolution of systems in response to increase in scale and scope. Geo Key Manager started off as a small research project and, as it got used more and more, wasn’t scaling as well as we wanted it to. This post describes the challenges Geo Key Manager is facing today, particularly from a networking standpoint, and some of the steps along its way to a truly scalable service.

Geo Key Manager started out as a research Continue reading

Privacy-Preserving Compromised Credential Checking

Privacy-Preserving Compromised Credential Checking
Privacy-Preserving Compromised Credential Checking

Today we’re announcing a public demo and an open-sourced Go implementation of a next-generation, privacy-preserving compromised credential checking protocol called MIGP (“Might I Get Pwned”, a nod to Troy Hunt’s “Have I Been Pwned”). Compromised credential checking services are used to alert users when their credentials might have been exposed in data breaches. Critically, the ‘privacy-preserving’ property of the MIGP protocol means that clients can check for leaked credentials without leaking any information to the service about the queried password, and only a small amount of information about the queried username. Thus, not only can the service inform you when one of your usernames and passwords may have become compromised, but it does so without exposing any unnecessary information, keeping credential checking from becoming a vulnerability itself. The ‘next-generation’ property comes from the fact that MIGP advances upon the current state of the art in credential checking services by allowing clients to not only check if their exact password is present in a data breach, but to check if similar passwords have been exposed as well.

For example, suppose your password last year was amazon20\$, and you change your password each year (so your current password is amazon21\$). Continue reading

Unbuckling the narrow waist of IP: Addressing Agility for Names and Web Services

Unbuckling the narrow waist of IP: Addressing Agility for Names and Web Services
Unbuckling the narrow waist of IP: Addressing Agility for Names and Web Services

At large operational scales, IP addressing stifles innovation in network- and web-oriented services. For every architectural change, and certainly when starting to design new systems, the first set of questions we are forced to ask are:

  • Which block of IP addresses do or can we use?
  • Do we have enough in IPv4? If not, where or how can we get them?
  • How do we use IPv6 addresses, and does this affect other uses of IPv6?
  • Oh, and what careful plan, checks, time, and people do we need for migration?

Having to stop and worry about IP addresses costs time, money, resources. This may sound surprising, given the visionary and resilient advent of IP, 40+ years ago. By their very design, IP addresses should be the last thing that any network has to think about. However, if the Internet has laid anything bare, it’s that small or seemingly unimportant weaknesses — often invisible or impossible to see at design time — always show up at sufficient scale.

One thing we do know: “more addresses” should never be the answer. In IPv4 that type of thinking only contributes to their scarcity, driving up further their market prices. IPv6 is absolutely necessary, Continue reading

Research Directions in Password Security

Research Directions in Password Security
Research Directions in Password Security

As Internet users, we all deal with passwords every day. With so many different services, each with their own login systems, we have to somehow keep track of the credentials we use with each of these services. This situation leads some users to delegate credential storage to password managers like LastPass or a browser-based password manager, but this is far from universal. Instead, many people still rely on old-fashioned human memory, which has its limitations — leading to reused passwords and to security problems. This blog post discusses how Cloudflare Research is exploring how to minimize password exposure and thwart password attacks.

The Problem of Password Reuse

Because it’s too difficult to remember many distinct passwords, people often reuse them across different online services. When breached password datasets are leaked online, attackers can take advantage of these to conduct “credential stuffing attacks”. In a credential stuffing attack, an attacker tests breached credentials against multiple online login systems in an attempt to hijack user accounts. These attacks are highly effective because users tend to reuse the same credentials across different websites, and they have quickly become one of the most prevalent types of online guessing attacks. Automated attacks can be run Continue reading

Cloudflare and the IETF

Cloudflare and the IETF
Cloudflare and the IETF

The Internet, far from being just a series of tubes, is a huge, incredibly complex, decentralized system. Every action and interaction in the system is enabled by a complicated mass of protocols woven together to accomplish their task, each handing off to the next like trapeze artists high above a virtual circus ring. Stop to think about details, and it is a marvel.

Consider one of the simplest tasks enabled by the Internet: Sending a message from sender to receiver.

Cloudflare and the IETF

The location (address) of a receiver is discovered using DNS, a connection between sender and receiver is established using a transport protocol like TCP, and (hopefully!) secured with a protocol like TLS. The sender's message is encoded in a format that the receiver can recognize and parse, like HTTP, because the two disparate parties need a common language to communicate. Then, ultimately, the message is sent and carried in an IP datagram that is forwarded from sender to receiver based on routes established with BGP.

Cloudflare and the IETF

Even an explanation this dense is laughably oversimplified. For example, the four protocols listed are just the start, and ignore many others with acronyms of their own. The truth is that things are complicated. Continue reading

Pairings in CIRCL

Pairings in CIRCL
Pairings in CIRCL

In 2019, we announced the release of CIRCL, an open-source cryptographic library written in Go that provides optimized implementations of several primitives for key exchange and digital signatures. We are pleased to announce a major update of our library: we have included more packages for elliptic curve-based cryptography (ECC), pairing-based cryptography, and quantum-resistant algorithms.

All of these packages are the foundation of work we’re doing on bringing the benefits of cutting edge research to Cloudflare. In the past we’ve experimented with post-quantum algorithms, used pairings to keep keys safe around the world, and implemented advanced elliptic curves. Now we’re continuing that work, and sharing the foundation with everyone.

In this blog post we’re going to focus on pairing-based cryptography and give you a brief overview of some properties that make this topic so pleasant. If you are not so familiar with elliptic curves, we recommend this primer on ECC.

Otherwise, let’s get ready, pairings have arrived!

What are pairings?

Elliptic curve cryptography enables an efficient instantiation of several cryptographic applications: public-key encryption, signatures, zero-knowledge proofs, and many other more exotic applications like oblivious transfer and OPRFs. With all of those applications you might wonder what is Continue reading

Exported Authenticators: The long road to RFC

Exported Authenticators: The long road to RFC
Exported Authenticators: The long road to RFC

Our earlier blog post talked in general terms about how we work with the IETF. In this post we’re going to talk about a particular IETF project we’ve been working on, Exported Authenticators (EAs). Exported Authenticators is a new extension to TLS that we think will prove really exciting. It unlocks all sorts of fancy new authentication possibilities, from TLS connections with multiple certificates attached, to logging in to a website without ever revealing your password.

Now, you might have thought that given the innumerable hours that went into the design of TLS 1.3 that it couldn’t possibly be improved, but it turns out that there are a number of places where the design falls a little short. TLS allows us to establish a secure connection between a client and a server. The TLS connection presents a certificate to the browser, which proves the server is authorised to use the name written on the certificate, for example blog.cloudflare.com. One of the most common things we use that ability for is delivering webpages. In fact, if you’re reading this, your browser has already done this for you. The Cloudflare Blog is delivered over TLS, and by presenting a Continue reading

Coalescing Connections to Improve Network Privacy and Performance

Coalescing Connections to Improve Network Privacy and Performance
Coalescing Connections to Improve Network Privacy and Performance

Web pages typically have a large number of embedded subresources (e.g., JavaScript, CSS, image files, ads, beacons) that are fetched by a browser on page loads. Requests for these subresources can prompt browsers to perform further DNS lookups, TCP connections, and TLS handshakes, which can have a significant impact on how long it takes for the user to see the content and interact with the page. Further, each additional request exposes metadata (such as plaintext DNS queries, or unencrypted SNI in TLS handshake) which can have potential privacy implications for the user. With these factors in mind, we carried out a measurement study to understand how we can leverage Connection Coalescing (aka Connection Reuse) to address such concerns, and study its feasibility.

Background

The web has come a long way and initially consisted of very simple protocols. One of them was HTTP/1.0, which required browsers to make a separate connection for every subresource on the page. This design was quickly recognized as having significant performance bottlenecks and was extended with HTTP pipelining and persistent connections in HTTP/1.1 revision, which allowed HTTP requests to reuse the same TCP connection. But, yet again, this was no Continue reading

Introducing SSL/TLS Recommender

Introducing SSL/TLS Recommender
Introducing SSL/TLS Recommender

Seven years ago, Cloudflare made HTTPS availability for any Internet property easy and free with Universal SSL. At the time, few websites — other than those that processed sensitive data like passwords and credit card information — were using HTTPS because of how difficult it was to set up.

However, as we all started using the Internet for more and more private purposes (communication with loved ones, financial transactions, shopping, healthcare, etc.) the need for encryption became apparent. Tools like Firesheep demonstrated how easily attackers could snoop on people using public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops and airports. The Snowden revelations showed the ease with which governments could listen in on unencrypted communications at scale. We have seen attempts by browser vendors to increase HTTPS adoption such as the recent announcement by Chromium for loading websites on HTTPS by default. Encryption has become a vital part of the modern Internet, not just to keep your information safe, but to keep you safe.

When it was launched, Universal SSL doubled the number of sites on the Internet using HTTPS. We are building on that with SSL/TLS Recommender, a tool that guides you to stronger configurations for the backend connection Continue reading

Dynamic Process Isolation: Research by Cloudflare and TU Graz

Dynamic Process Isolation: Research by Cloudflare and TU Graz
Dynamic Process Isolation: Research by Cloudflare and TU Graz

Last year, I wrote about the Cloudflare Workers security model, including how we fight Spectre attacks. In that post, I explained that there is no known complete defense against Spectre — regardless of whether you're using isolates, processes, containers, or virtual machines to isolate tenants. What we do have, though, is a huge number of tools to increase the cost of a Spectre attack, to the point where it becomes infeasible. Cloudflare Workers has been designed from the very beginning with protection against side channel attacks in mind, and because of this we have been able to incorporate many defenses that other platforms — such as virtual machines and web browsers — cannot. However, the performance and scalability requirements of edge compute make it infeasible to run every Worker in its own private process, so we cannot rely on the usual defenses provided by the operating system kernel and address space separation.

Given our different approach, we cannot simply rely on others to tell us if we are safe. We had to do our own research. To do this we partnered with researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) to study the impact of Spectre on our environment. The Continue reading

Handshake Encryption: Endgame (an ECH update)

Handshake Encryption: Endgame (an ECH update)
Handshake Encryption: Endgame (an ECH update)

Privacy and security are fundamental to Cloudflare, and we believe in and champion the use of cryptography to help provide these fundamentals for customers, end-users, and the Internet at large. In the past, we helped specify, implement, and ship TLS 1.3, the latest version of the transport security protocol underlying the web, to all of our users. TLS 1.3 vastly improved upon prior versions of the protocol with respect to security, privacy, and performance: simpler cryptographic algorithms, more handshake encryption, and fewer round trips are just a few of the many great features of this protocol.

TLS 1.3 was a tremendous improvement over TLS 1.2, but there is still room for improvement. Sensitive metadata relating to application or user intent is still visible in plaintext on the wire. In particular, all client parameters, including the name of the target server the client is connecting to, are visible in plaintext. For obvious reasons, this is problematic from a privacy perspective: Even if your application traffic to crypto.cloudflare.com is encrypted, the fact you’re visiting crypto.cloudflare.com can be quite revealing.

And so, in collaboration with other participants in the standardization community and members of Continue reading

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