At the time of writing, the home page of 911 (911.re) Proxy Service was displaying a detailed message left by the website’s administrator revealing details of the security breach.

911 proxy service (911.re), regarded as one of the few original residential proxy networks, has announced shutting down its operations after suffering a data breach. The service that has sold access to countless Microsoft Windows computers since 2015 confirmed in a message on its home page that the cyberattack destroyed critical elements of its business operations.

Incident Details

Earlier in July 2022, Brian Krebs from KrebsOnSecurity had criticized the connections 911.re proxy service had with dubious pay-per-install affiliate programs, which bundled its software with pirated software and free utilities.

Krebs noted that 911.re operated multiple pay-per-install programs and paid affiliates to bundle its software with other programs to generate a steady stream of proxies. 

Soon after Krebs’ report, 911.re informed users about reviewing its network and implementing new security measures to “prevent misuse” of its services, along with closing new user registrations and proxy balance top-up.

“We are reviewing every existing user, to ensure their usage is legit and compliance with our Terms of Service,” the notice read.

Many users complained that they could not use the service after the company’s public notice. On July 28th, the website announced a permanent shutdown of its services.

“We regret to inform you that we permanently shut down 911.re and all its services on July 28th.”

911 (911.re) Proxy Service Shuts Down After Confirming Security Breach
The home page of 911.re proxy service at the time of writing this article (Image: Hackread.com)

Was 911.re Hacked?

As shown in the screenshot above, 911.re claims that its service was hacked in July 2022 after someone manipulated the balances of many user accounts by abusing an API (application programming interface) that handled account top-ups.

The company investigated and discovered that the hacker “maliciously damaged” its server data. The hackers managed to overwrite its servers, data, and its backups. Since the company wasn’t sure how it compromised this system, it decided to shut down the recharge system and new user registration “urgently.”

How do Residential Proxy Services Work?

Users rent a residential IP address and use it as a relay for internet communications while securing their identity. But they are generally unaware that it would turn their device into a proxy that allows other users to use their internet address.

Such proxy services build their networks by offering free proxy or free VPN services powered by software that turns their computers into a traffic relay.

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