The business empire of DDoS operator Cloudflare, which has been under investigation by federal investigators, is facing an increasing amount of scrutiny after the U.S. Justice Department indicted a top official, Daniel Hirschfeld, on charges of using the service as a platform to promote a botnet that was responsible for the DSTDoS attack on the websites of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
Hirschfield has been a DDoS evangelist for more than a decade, and in a series of recent posts, he has encouraged his followers to use the DUST service to create botnets to attack specific targets, like Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and to spread disinformation on the social media site.
In a series entitled “I’m a bot,” Hirschfried wrote that “there are a few things you need to know about DUST.
DUST is not a bot.”
“I am a bot and you are stupid,” he wrote.
Hitzfeld’s comments drew an immediate response from DDoS experts, who immediately questioned the accuracy of the statements.
“If Cloudflares botnet was responsible and this was a bot, how did he get on that list?” said Alex Spanos, an expert at the security company FireEye.
“It’s a really hard question to answer.”
Cloudflars founder and CEO Dmitri Alperovitch responded in a video posted Thursday by DDoS expert Nick Johnson that said he did not personally see or know of any evidence of the company’s involvement in a bot or DSTDMDoS attack.
“The people responsible for this botnet were not part of our team,” Alperow wrote.
“I can assure you, we are not involved in the creation of this bot.
We are not a part of this operation.
We never had this in our minds.”
Alperovaiski continued to say that he does not “know of any specific instances” where Cloudflakes botnet had “contributed to this attack.”
“We did not contribute to this, nor do we plan to do so in the future,” Alperer said in the video.
Alperovic said he believes that “this was a mistake.”
“What was not done is that we did not stop the attack on [Sanders] campaign,” Alpertovitch wrote.
He continued, “There are a lot of people who think that the best way to attack a candidate, or at least someone who is running for office, is to go after the campaign itself.
And we don’t agree with that.”
Alpertovich added that “the best way” to attack an election campaign is to “create a massive DDoS attack.”
Hirschfld wrote that he had already deleted the posts, adding that he would be “shocked” if they were “found to have been written by someone with knowledge of the botnet.”
Hinkenfeld responded to the news of the indictment in a post Thursday on the company blog.
“When we discovered that this was not the case, we immediately deleted the tweets, and our team is now actively working to identify and delete any and all accounts associated with DUST.”
CloudFlares CEO Dmitris Alperovich has not commented publicly on the indictments.