Cybernews implements defense in depth and ensures a positive reader experience for viral cyber security stories with Cloudflare

Cybernews reports on a variety of stories in the cyber security space. In an attempt to make the internet a safer space for everyone, its newsroom, spanning two continents, three time zones and four different cities, breaks news on latest breaches, hacks, vulnerabilities, and threats, among other things, offering readers worldwide a carefully curated, fact-checked articles, in-depth analysis of current threats and comments from industry leaders.

While Cybernews is headquartered in Lithuania, it has employees and readers from around the world. The news outlet’s stories get approximately 150,000 readers each day, but this number can skyrocket into the millions after a news story goes viral.

Challenge: Protecting against data breaches and automated attacks

Cyber security is a core part of Cybernews’ business. Its research team track the latest breach stories and perform fact-checking and in-depth investigations into reports of breaches and vulnerabilities.

This keen security focus means that Cybernews has a clear understanding of cyber security best practices and what can go wrong if they aren’t followed. It also means that Cybernews has a great deal of sensitive data — including interview content and research and investigation data — that it needs to protect.

Cybernews’ business also makes it a prime target for cyber criminals. Attack groups who do not appreciate how they are portrayed in news reporting may target the organization with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and other attacks in revenge.

Multi-layer defenses against data breaches

Cybernews has prioritized cybersecurity since day one. Shortly after the news outlet opened three years ago, it began working with Cloudflare. According to Bronislovas Skridaila, Cybernews’ CTO, “Cybernews is all about security. Cloudflare helps to ensure that our systems and sensitive data are properly protected.”

Cybernews has deployed Cloudflare solutions as part of a defense-in-depth strategy. All traffic to Cybernews systems must pass through the Cloudflare network first, which detects and filters malicious traffic before it reaches the company’s network and internal firewalls. According to Skridaila, “Many data breaches and leaks are caused by human error. By implementing holistic security approach utilising on our systems and Cloudflare’s, we know that if something fails on our part, we won’t be responsible for breaching sensitive data.”

Skridaila points to Cloudflare’s security-focused mindset and deep experience in the space as the reason why Cybernews relies on Cloudflare to protect its systems. He says, “Cloudflare has firewall rules, machine learning, and protection against web application attacks at a global scale. It would be stupid not to use that and try to blindly invent something like that from scratch.”

Bot management blocks automated attacks and content scraping

Automated attacks pose a significant risk to Cybernews’ business. Cyber criminals use bots to perform DDoS attacks and other automated attacks against the company’s systems. Other organizations masquerade as Googlebot and Bingbot to scrape stories from its sites for republication elsewhere.

Cloudflare Bot Management provides Cybernews with the visibility and protection it needs to manage these automated threats. According to Skridaila, “Cloudflare Bot Management helps us to filter out the noise and get a clearer view of what’s really happening. Cloudflare helps us to differentiate between legitimate bots and ones that pose a threat to our content and sites.”

Optimizing network performance and reliability

Cybernews uses a range of Cloudflare solutions to improve the performance and availability of its content. Caching is only the first step in this process. By caching 80-90% of its content on Cloudflare, Cybernews decreases network latency for readers around the world. Skridaila says, “We cache as much as we can on Cloudflare. It reduces latency for our readers and enables us to scale when a story goes viral.”

This design also helps Cybernews to manage the surges in demand generated by major news stories. Some releases can cause a 10x increase in traffic as referrals from other sites increase traffic to as high as 3 million visitors per day. By caching most of its content, Cybernews can meet demand and reduce the infrastructure costs of hosting its own servers.

Cybernews also leverages Cloudflare Pages and Workers to host applications and functions across Cloudflare’s global network, decreasing its operational overhead and improving the user experience. Previously, the organization hosted internal tools and sub-projects on its own servers using containers from another vendor. With Pages, Cybernews can push the code and run everything hosted on Cloudflare, eliminating the need for additional servers.

Cybernews is also a power user of Cloudflare Workers, hosting a number of scripts on the Cloudflare Network. With Workers, the company can run various scripts in response to inbound traffic at the network edge, further reducing latency and hosting costs.

Zero Trust enables secure collaboration

With Cybernews’ tight operation, the outlet is still able to perform in-depth investigations and publish a variety of content, including stories and about a dozen videos, each day.

Collaboration with third-party writers and editors is what makes this possible. However, allowing contractors and freelancers access to the organization’s systems could create a significant risk of data breaches, supply chain attacks, and third party incidents.

Cybernews uses the Cloudflare Zero Trust Platform to collaborate securely with its third-party contributors. By providing these writers limited access to company systems, the organization enables them to submit pieces and work with editors without placing the rest of the organization at risk.

An endless learning experience

Cybernews works to extract maximum benefit from the Cloudflare platform, optimizing security settings and moving self-hosted data and programs to the Cloudflare Network. According to Skridaila, the Cloudflare support team went above and beyond when answering questions. He says, “The team not only answers your questions but also points to where the answer is on the Cloudflare website or documentation, allowing you to gain additional information and context.” This enhanced support has been crucial to Cybernews’ ability to find innovative and valuable ways of taking advantage of Cloudflare services.

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Key Results
  • Reduced infrastructure costs and improved user experience from 80-90% content caching

  • Decreased latency and server costs due to scripts and applications hosted via Cloudflare Workers and Pages

Cybernews is all about security. Cloudflare helps us to ensure that our systems and sensitive data are properly protected.

Bronislovas Skridaila

Cloudflare Bot Management helps us to filter out the noise and get a clearer view of what's really happening.

Bronislovas Skridaila