Telize, a free JSON IP and GeoIP service, was recently decommissioned prompting questions and concerns. Telize creator Frederic Cambus citied logistical and financial constraints as the impetus behind his actions, as well as the discovery that Telize was being used by malware and ransomware. Cambus recounted the entirety of the decommissioning process on his personal website, which I will recount below.
Due to an underestimation in web traffic in the initial phase of Telize’s creation, Cambus didn’t create a subdomain to host Telize API endpoints. Had he done so, DNS records for the subdomain could have been removed, effectively dismantling the API in one fell swoop. Not having this option, Cambus improvised. Given the circumstances and being unwilling to completely decommission the HTML pages, Cambus chose instead to block the API endpoints by returning HTTP error codes (403 Forbidden HTTP). Yet much to his dismay, this prompted an influx of retries thereby spiking CPU and I/O usage. The increase in bandwidth forced him, for fiscal reasons, to switch to a 444 No Response HTTP status code and terminate connection. In a state of emergency, he moved the site to GitHub Pages, where he then returned a 404 error for all three Telize endpoints.
Cambus was subjected to a degree of backlash, email and twitter harassment, and even one user demanding to host Telize themselves. All and all, Cambus has seemed to recover, and the Telize service is now offered per subscription.