on the use of SSL by Cloud Flare and similar services.
The Cloud Flare certificates we found all had the common name in the same style as the "ssl2796.cloudflare.com" shown in that Netcraft report.
The "ssl2796" in the name is a Cloud Flare tracking ID in the 136,417 root domains we found that use "standard" (not "universal") Cloud Flare certificates.
Every root domain also has a subdomain wildcard line (*.example.com), which we deleted to save space.
We compiled this list by attempting a handshake with the Cloud Flare domains in our database.
The "standard" certificates on this page (with "ssl" in front of the number instead of "sni") mean that the domain has a paid account at Cloud Flare.
Paid accounts make up about five percent of the domains that use Cloud Flare, according to news reports.
It's all a marketing effort anyway, whether paid or free.
There is no such thing as "secure" SSL when you have potential Men-In-The-Middle at scores of data centers around the world.
Local authorities could be sniffing the plaintext available at these data centers, and Cloud Flare wouldn't have a clue.
(Their "data centers" are typically a rack or two of equipment that Cloud Flare ships to a real data center, along with installation instructions.) We asked Cloud Flare to confirm that sniffing is possible at these so-called "data centers," but they didn't respond.
By now we're wondering if there's a plaintext Ethernet port at the back of their equipment rack that makes interception easy and convenient.