Continued from page 1

A company spokeswoman, Carol Carrubba, told the AP that Cloudflare, which she described as a performance and security company, doesn’t comment on its customers. But Carrubba said: “Even if we delete a customer’s account, the content remains in place, though the site may load more slowly.”

Internet directories on Wednesday continued to identify Cloudflare as directing traffic to the Russian website, although any technical changes could take hours or days to update across the Internet.

Last month, the chief executive at Cloudflare, Matthew Prince, said in a speech that he had been victimized last year by hackers associated with the group UGNazi. They tricked Google into giving them access to his Gmail account, Prince said, and left voicemails taunting him that they had bought his Social Security number from an underground Russian website. Prince said the break-in of his personal email account also allowed the hackers to take over Cloudflare’s corporate email systems.

In his speech, Prince said his company traced the attackers within 24 hours, and the hackers turned out to be among Cloudflare’s customers.

The FBI in San Francisco declined to tell AP whether investigators have contacted Cloudflare to review payments or communications that had been used to set up the service.

The website address uses an Internet suffix originally assigned to the former Soviet Union, and many of the pages feature unflattering pictures of the person featured and taunting messages to them. A counter on the website indicated that it had received more than 500,000 views as of late Wednesday afternoon.

Social Security numbers posted on Jay-Z, Mel Gibson and others matched records in public databases. Social Security numbers are not public records, although they are used to be included in some court filings. Many courts require the information be redacted from filings since the numbers can be used to steal a person’s identity and open credit accounts in their name.

___

Associated Press writers Jason Dearen in San Francisco, Raquel Maria Dillon in Los Angeles and White House Correspondent Julie Pace and writers Ted Bridis and Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.

___

Follow Anne Flaherty at https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty