This Review Seems Like Evidence That SiteLock’s Vague Emails About Supposed Vulnerabilities Are Just a Marketing Ploy

On a fairly regular basis we are contacted by people looking for advice after being contacted by the security company SiteLock. From what we have seen a lot of the claims that SiteLock and their representatives make are misleading or false and seem to be intended to get people to sign up for unneeded services.

In some cases the claims are obviously false, like when they falsely claimed that a website contained “critical” severity malware due to having a link to an unregistered domain name.

In other cases the claims sound impressive, but they fall apart upon inspection. That was the case with SiteLock’s “likelihood of compromise” scores, which are promoted as being based on “high-level security analysis by leveraging over 500 variables to score a website’s risk on a scale of low, medium and high”. When a Forbes contributor reached out to SiteLock for an explanation on how their website that supposedly had a “Medium” “likelihood of compromise” could even be compromised in way that was considered by SiteLock’s analysis, they claimed they would and then stopped responding:

When asked how a remote attacker might then modify the files on a CMS-less single-page self-contained static website without either guessing/phishing/resetting the account password or finding a vulnerability in the server stack, a representative initially said they would work with their engineering team to send me some examples of how such a site could be compromised, but later said they would not be commenting further and did not respond to two subsequent requests for additional comment.

One of the claims we have yet to see any evidence that there is any basis behind it, are claims that websites have some undetailed vulnerability, which are made in emails like this:

Because website security is important, your hosting provider has provided you with a complimentary scanner from SiteLock that proactively checks for malicious threats and vulnerabilities. This scan regularly reviews your website plugins, themes and content management system (CMS) for potential vulnerabilities.

During a recent scan, a vulnerability was detected on your website.

For details on the findings, including the location of the vulnerability and remediation options, please contact SiteLock today. We would be happy to walk you through your dashboard and talk to you about next steps. Our security consultants are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

Call 844-303-1509 or email

A recent positive review of SiteLock we ran across certainly seems to give more weight to possibility that there really vulnerabilities that they have discovered. Here is the review:

I responded to your email letting me know I had vulnerabilities on my websites. After our conversation everything was taken care of to thwart those vulnerabilities with your premium firewall. David was very helpful in making me understand how the firewall will benefit me. Thank you!

If there were really were vulnerabilities, what would need to done to take of the vulnerabilities would be to fix them. A firewall wouldn’t fix them. At best it might limit the ability to exploit them, but SiteLock doesn’t provide evidence that their TrueShield Web Application Firewall is effective at all (they might not have any idea if it is since the service is provided by another company, something they lie about) and in some cases that type of firewall can be easily bypassed entirely. It also worth noting here that as far as we are aware when you get in touch with SiteLock you are talking to a commissioned sales person, not a technical person with security expertise, so they likely wouldn’t know if what they are selling someone is actually beneficial or not to that person.

What we previously have seen with this type of email made it seem like the claims could be baseless, as among other things they have even sent message where the didn’t even say what website was supposed to have been impacted. The review seems in line with that, as it looks like it is just a way to get people to contact them and then sell them on security services that are not actually even focused on protecting websites from being hacked.

As we said the last time we mentioned these emails, you could probably safely ignore these messages, but if you want extra assurance you could contact SiteLock and ask for evidence of their claim (though we have heard in the past that they wouldn’t provide that) or check to make sure you are doing the important things to keep your website secure, like keeping your software up to date. While we don’t recommend it, we also offer a security review to check over things like if software you are using is known to be insecure.

SiteLock Provides More Evidence That They Are Not Being Truthful About Who Provides Their CDN and WAF Services

Back in November we discussed evidence we had found that indicated that the web security company SiteLock’s TrueSpeed CDN and TrueShield Web Application Firewall services were actually provided by another company Incapsula, while SiteLock made it sound like they are providing them directly. At the time we mentioned that is “troubling as all of the customer’s website’s traffic is going to be running through a company that they don’t have a relationship with or are even likely to know is involved”. It is also troubling to think that a security company would be lying to their customers like that, since a big part of security is trust. If they are lying about something like this, where we don’t see why they even would need to, you reasonably have to wonder if there is something they wouldn’t be willing to lie about.

A recent post on SiteLock’s blog provided further confirmation that these services are actually provided by Incapsula while at the same time making it sound like SiteLock is providing them directly. In the December 18 post SiteLock TrueShield Updates they let their customers know of new IP addresses being used by those services that some of their customers would need to whitelist. Those IP addresses are

If you look up who those belong to it is Incapsula: example 1, example 2, and example 3.

In the post there is no mention of Incapsula, but they is plenty that would make you think that SiteLock is actually providing the services. In a large font they refer to the IP addresses being used by the services as “ours”:

If you are adding our IP addresses for the *FIRST TIME* 

In explaining why the new IP addresses are being added they mention their servers and IP address, despite those pretty clearly being Incapsula’s instead (emphasis ours):

The SiteLock servers periodically make requests for updated content from your website’s hosting server. This ensures that we are delivering the freshest content to your visitors. During periods of high traffic, we may make more frequent requests for content than during off-peak periods. Cloud technology of this kind uses a finite number of unique IP addresses to fulfill these requests, making this behavior appear as a security threat to some firewall services. This can be due to the large number of requests from a disproportionately low number of perceived unique visitors. Whitelisting or creating firewall exceptions for our servers’ IP addresses prevents your other security systems from blocking legitimate traffic relayed through our servers.

If we were not already familiar with a litany issues with SiteLock (you can see some of those by looking over our previous post about them) we would say this would be a good reason to avoid them, but with all the others you should have more reasons to avoid them then you should possibly need.

GoDaddy Doesn’t Disclose The True Source of SiteLock’s CDN and WAF Services

The last time we discussed GoDaddy’s partnership with SiteLock back in September it involved a situation where SiteLock managed to break a website they were supposed to be cleaning, GoDaddy was partly responsible for the website being hacked, and SiteLock failed to detect that GoDaddy issue due to their failure to do a basic part of a hack cleanup. Based on that an expansion of their partnership doesn’t seem like a good thing, but it is happening.

Today GoDaddy announced that they would now be offering SiteLock’s content data network (CDN) and web application firewall services (WAF) services. What they neglected to mention is that these services are not actually provided by SiteLock, but as we recently discovered, by another company, Incapsula. That is a rather important item to disclose since both of those services involve sending your website’s traffic through someone else’s systems. Having a company you have no involvement with having access to all of your website’s traffic obviously raises some serious issues. Even if you are not concerned with Incapsula having access to your traffic, it looks like SiteLock could switch to another provider at any time without you being aware of it.

Also missing from the press release is any evidence that SiteLock’s WAF actually provides any protection (which we haven’t seen provide elsewhere either). Instead you get unsupported claims as to the protection it supposedly provides. One claim included has actually been indirectly disputed by SiteLock. That claim being that it prevents backdoor access:

Trust that website content will be protected from potentially harmful spam comments, and backdoor access to website files will be blocked.

In previous post we looked at situation where a SiteLock customer using their firewall got hacked again and said that “SiteLock assures me that everything is set up correctly, and that the hacker must have a back door access point.  They don’t cover that.”.

If you are actually looking to keep your website then these are things you should focus on, which are not things that any SiteLock services provides. You also would probably be best off not using a web host, like GoDaddy, that partners with SiteLock.

More Evidence That SiteLock’s TrueShield Web Application Firewall Is Really Incapsula’s WAF

Last week we looked at the evidence we had found that a couple of services that SiteLock was claiming to provide directly were actually provided by Incapsula. That would be an issue both because you have a security company pretty blatantly lying, but also because websites using the services would have traffic is going through a company they are neither aware would have access to their traffic and or that they have a relationship with.

For one of the services, Sitelock’s TrueSpeed CDN, the evidence was beyond a reasonable doubt to us that the service is really provided by Incapsula. For their TrueShield Web Application Firewall (WAF) it seemed likely that was also the case, due in part that it would be easier to use Incapsula’s WAF when they already were using their CDN, but the evidence wasn’t as strong. We ran into another piece of evidence that makes it pretty conclusive that the service is also actually provided by Incapsula.

While requesting a page be saved on, so that we could link to it if it got removed from the website it was on, this was saved instead:


That page claims that the website is “protected and accelerated by SiteLock” and that there is a ” SiteLock security network”:

The web site you are visiting is protected and accelerated by SiteLock. Your computer might have been infected by some kind of malware and flagged by SiteLock security network. This page is presented by SiteLock to verify that a human is behind the traffic to this site and malicious software.

Here is one of a number a screenshots we found with of the exact same page when coming from Incapsula:


The only difference with it is the branding. There really isn’t a way that could be coincidental.

That doesn’t match with SiteLock’s description on the page for the service though. For example, they claim that SiteLock is analyzing the request, when in fact it is Incapsula:


Is SiteLock Lying About Patent-Pending Technology and the True Source of Some of Their Services?

In looking in to some things for recent posts about SiteLock, their web application firewall (WAF) had come up a number of times and that then made us recall that previously it seemed that service was actually provided by the company Incapsula. Looking at the page for the service there was no mention of that or anything that might indicate that SiteLock was not providing the service themselves. The only mention of Incapsula on SiteLock’s website according to Google is them being cited in a couple of blog posts. The same holds true for mentions of SiteLock on Incapsula’s website.

So were we confused in thinking that there was connection between the two companies or have they just hidden it away from the public (like how one of their hosting partners wouldn’t admit to the ownership connection between SiteLock and them)? A little more looking showed the connection actually existed.

The True Provider of TrueSpeed CDN

Doing a traceroute for showed their IP address to be, for the which the canonical name is as in Incapsula, which you wouldn’t expect since you expect that SiteLock would be using their own TrueSpeed content delivery network (CDN) to serve their website. Next up we did a traceroute on their WordPress focused sub-domain, which showed a canonical name of and an IP address of, which in turn has a canonical name of We then looked at several of their customers websites listed in case studies on and found they were running through Incapsula as well.

From all that it is clear that the TrueSpeed CDN is actually being provided by Incapsula, which you wouldn’t have any clue if you looked at how SiteLock describes the service. One part of the description that stood out for us was this:

Dynamic Content Caching

SiteLock patent-pending technology continuously profiles website resources, gathering information on how content is displayed. Static content can be safely cached. Some dynamic content might change continuously, while other content might rarely change or change only for specific users. This information enables truly optimized caching, and ensures content that is rendered is accurate—a premium feature you won’t get with most content delivery networks.

To claim you have a patent pending certainly makes it sounds like you provide the service yourself. But a quick search pulled up a PDF datasheet for Incapsula’s Content Delivery Network, which pretty clearly is the source of material on SiteLock’s page, with some rewriting of the text having been done. Here is relevant section from Incapsula’s document:

Dynamic Content Caching

Patent-pending advanced learning algorithms continuously profile website resources, gathering intelligence on each resource. Some of these resources, which may be dynamically generated, rarely change over time and for different users. This intelligence allows for optimized caching and ensures resource accuracy.

SiteLock’s lack of truthfulness to their customers about this is pretty troubling as all of the customer’s website’s traffic is going to be running through a company that they don’t have a relationship with or are even likely to know is involved. Even if there is no concern about Incapsula, SiteLock could always switch to some other provider without notice, that isn’t as trustworthy and their customer could find that out too late.

This definitely is something that should make people avoid SiteLock, as trust is so important when it comes to security companies.

What About TrueShield Web Application Firewall?

Our looking into a connection between Incapsula and SiteLock started with looking for a connection with SiteLock’s web application firewall (WAF), so is that also provided by Incapsula as well? The circumstantial evidence points in that direction, but there was no smoking gun that we have found so far.

From a practical stand point if you are already running the website’s traffic through Incapsula it would seem to be easier to use their existing WAF in their systems than creating your own and then integrating that in to their systems, if they would even allow it. SiteLock’s CDN and WAF were introduced at the same time, so that would certainly fall in line with the possibility of them having the same source.

Here is the screenshot of a report from SiteLock’s WAF from the service’s page on SiteLock’s website:


And here is a screenshot of a report form Incapsula, also related to “Bot Access Control”:


The data presentation is quite similar between the two of those, which we have hard time believing could have been coincidental.

Know Something More About The Connection Between The Companies?

If you are aware of additional details related to the connection between SiteLock and Incapsula please leave a comment.