EXCLUSIVE: ExpressVPN Insider Tells All On Company's "Israel"-UAE Spy Connections
How does the Israeli company ExpressVPN fit into the FBI investigation? and what does this mean for users?
A popular VPN company, ExpressVPN, has been implicated in an Israeli-UAE spy scandal. It was recently revealed that ExpressVPN hired Daniel Gericke while he was being investigated by the FBI for his work with UAE cybersecurity firm “DarkMatter”. Former NSA operative Daniel Gericke helped the UAE monarchy spy on its critics, by providing DarkMatter with an exploit called “Karma” that allowed them to remotely break into the phones of activists and journalists from around the world.
The FBI was concerned that Gericke was providing intelligence on American citizens to foreign governments. This information came to light in a DOJ press release after the FBI had settled the case against Gericke. To compound the intrigue, around the same time ExpressVPN was acquired by an Israeli Tech firm called “Kape technologies”. The Israeli company has a history of data mining and Malware. It was founded by a former Israeli spy and an Israeli billionaire who was named in the Panama papers.
An anonymous ExpressVPN insider reached out and provided us with some exclusive behind-the-scenes information.
How does the Israeli company fit into the FBI investigation?
ExpressVPN insider - ”The buyout of ExpressVPN by Kape Technologies can’t be a coincidence. ExpressVPN sold to Kape on September 13, on the same day Gericke settled with the FBI/DOJ for a ‘slap on the wrist’ and a simple fine for his activities. ExpressVPN founders knew about Gericke’s the whole time. Internally, workers feel betrayed and angry.”
We can only speculate that some sort of deal between the Israeli company, Gericke, and the FBI was made. This may also be related to the recent exposure of another Israeli Tech firm, the NSO Group, which sold the Pegasus phone hack to governments around the world. Earlier this year, a list of 50,000 phone numbers that were targeted by the NSO’s Pegasus exploit was leaked. It included the phone numbers of journalists, activists, royals, and 14 heads of state, including French President Emmanuel Macron. The NSO group sold its Pegasus hack to the UAE in 2015, long before the UAE openly normalized relations with "Israel". It was revealed this week, that Pegasus used to Spy on human rights activist Alaa Al Siddiq who mysteriously died in a car accident.
It is also important to ask why Kape Technologies paid almost $1 billion to purchase ExpressVPN when the company only has 2 million customers. That is more than three times the annual revenue they would stand to make from customers alone. We could speculate that the real value derives from spying on these customers and selling their data profiles. ExpressVPN is not the only VPN company that Kape Technologies has purchased. It has been on a buying spree of other VPNs including CyberGhost, Private Internet Access, and Zenmate. This is perhaps an attempt to monopolize the VPN market to prevent any data from slipping through the cracks and leaving VPN users with no choice but to go through an Israeli provider.
What does this mean for users?
ExpressVPN insider - "Anyone who continues to use ExpressVPN or the other Kape Technology VPNs such as CyberGhost, Zenmate and Private Internet Access are putting their lives in their hands. DarkMatter spying caused dire consequences for many people and so could spying by these VPNs.”
Being linked to intelligence agencies could cause distrust and a drop in the number of customers. So how does ExpressVPN justify the continued hiring of Daniel Gericke?
ExpressVPN insider - "The company is taking the position that 'the best defence is a good offence’. The story from management is that Gericke has turned over a new leaf and no one but a spy can protect from spies. But who will protect us from him?”
Our source highlighted that while press outlets have referred to Gericke as ExpressVPN’s Chief information officer, the company quietly promoted Gericke twice during his indictment, revealing the level of his importance.
ExpressVPN insider -“Clearly, they are protecting him. ExpressVPN may be a US intelligence front that was asked to harbour Gericke during the investigation, partially because US spies and police are still using the Karma hacks to spy on iPhone users.
The insider went on to explain that the DarkMatter Karma hacks were originally invented by a US company that was not named in the Department of Justice press release but is called Accuvant. A source within Accuvant claimed they were explicitly directed to sell the Karma hack to DarkMatter by an unnamed US intelligence agency. Accuvant’s Alumni went on to found Grayshift, a firm that continues to break into iPhones for police in the United States.
One of the FBI’s functions is counter-intelligence tasks to prevent foreign agencies from spying on US citizens. It is for this reason that the investigation into DarkMatter had to take place. However, members of other intelligence agencies within the United States, may not be as beholden to the same legalities as the FBI but are actually on board with helping the UAE and "Israel" to spy on US citizens. As the outcome of the investigation didn’t mention any prison term, this would indicate that the FBI came to some sort of understanding with the other US intelligence agencies, "Israel" and the UAE. American citizens and innocent people around the world will continue to suffer as a result of it.