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The Difficulties of Bulletproof Hosting Takedowns

Formulating the takedown of a bulletproof hosting service isn’t easy. McColo only met its demise after a long investigation by Brian Krebs in conjunction with other security researchers and law enforcement agencies. If it were easy, the government would simply pop a takedown notice in the fax machine and send it to the host nation. It requires a concerted effort between numerous parties to stick. And even then, if the host nation turns a blind eye, it is all for nothing. Dhia Mahjoub’s USENIX talk also details the complexity of attempting to shut down bulletproof hosting services on foreign soil. Bulletproof hosting services take their name from the idea of being indestructible. Only a concerted effort will truly takedown a service. And as we have seen, it is a relatively simple process to switch host when the authorities come calling.

Unfortunately, shutting down bulletproof hosting services doesn’t usually spell the end of the operators or the customers unless the servers are physically seized or compromised. The infamous Russian Business Network (RBN) was thought to have long ceased operations but is operating the same scams, botnets, and other malicious content along the borders of eastern Ukraine and Moldova. There is some legitimate hosting taking place too. Some customers with extremely sensitive data use bulletproof hosting services to ensure government agencies and business adversaries cannot compromise them.

However, while their data has protection, it could also easily disappear; they could come under investigation just for using a bulletproof hosting service filled with other malicious data. Using a bulletproof hosting service isn’t inherently illegal. But if you’re just looking to start a new blog or host your online storefront, we suggest using regular hosting. We have comprehensive lists of free and easy hosting services, cheap hosting services, as well as why your first website shouldn’t use free hosting.