Private Internet Access VPN To Be Acquired By Malware Company Founded By Former Israeli Spy - Hidden Router VPN
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November 30, 2019
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Private Internet Access VPN to be acquired by malware company founded by former Israeli spy

Well, another giant in the VPN industry bites the dust.

dataprivacy

The following article contains quotes and links meant to inform VPN consumers concerning the ownership, affiliations, and past business practices of Kape Technologies (formerly known as Crossrider) in light of their acquisition of Private Internet Access VPN.

I’d like to start by giving credit where it is due. Forbes did some excellent reporting which detailed the business practices of Crossrider (Kape Technologies) prior to the recent news of their acquisition of PIA. Much of that article will be used for context throughout this one. I highly recommend reading it.
[Forbes] These Ex-Israeli Surveillance Agents Hijack Your Browser To Profit From Ads
Original: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/06/09/from-israel-unit-8200-to-ad-men/
Archived: https://archive.ph/4bPzQ

Private Internet Access is in the process of being acquired by Kape Technologies.

Kape Technologies is better known by the name under which they were formerly incorporated – “Crossrider” but make no mistake they are the same company which became notorious as an adware/malware producer.

[VPNPro] Private Internet Access announces merger with Kape Technologies:

Original: https://vpnpro.com/blog/private-internet-access-announces-merger-with-kape-technologies-in-latin/
Archived: https://archive.md/xyA9Z#selection-755.0-755.140

Kape Technologies was originally known as Crossrider until the name change in 2018. The reason for that was, as CEO Ido Erlichman put it, “strong association to the past activities of the company.” Perhaps that refers to infecting users’ devices with malware and adware, considered “high-risk” by Symantec and Malwarebytes.

If that wasn’t enough, Crossrider’s Founder and first CEO Koby Menachemi, was part of Unit 8200 – something that can be called Israel’s NSA. Another key person, Teddy Sagi, who is the main investor in both Crossrider and Kape Technologies, is 
mentioned in the Panama Papers.

Okay, there are several pieces of information here each of which we must parse and inspect separately. Firstly let’s look at the block of text pertaining to Crossrider (Kape Technologies) and it’s history with malware/adware.

Kape Technologies was originally known as Crossrider until the name change in 2018. The reason for that was, as CEO Ido Erlichman put it, “strong association to the past activities of the company.” Perhaps that refers to infecting users’ devices with malware and adware, considered “high-risk” by Symantec and Malwarebytes.

So what exactly is the Crossrider malware/adware?

The following two links are archived from Symantec’s website and MalwareByte’s website providing their descriptions for the Crossrider malware/adware.

[MalwareBytes] Adware.CrossRider

Original: https://blog.malwarebytes.com/detections/adware-crossrider
Archived: https://archive.ph/R3znj#selection-1229.0-1233.133

Adware.CrossRider is Malwarebytes’ detection name for a large family of adware targeting both Windows and macOS systems. CrossRider offers a highly configurable method for its clients to monetize their software.

[Symantec] Adware.Crossid:
Original: https://www.symantec.com/security-center/writeup/2012-060803-0143-99
Archived: https://archive.ph/lRxPr#selection-4343.0-4361.115

Risk impact: High
Systems affected: Windows
Behavior
Adware.Crossid is a security risk that displays advertisements in certain social networking sites and Web browsers.


Now that we have seen Crossrider (Kape Technologies) has a non-trivial track record of producing malicious software let’s now examine the next section of text from the ProVPN article.

If that wasn’t enough, Crossrider’s Founder and first CEO Koby Menachemi, was part of Unit 8200 – something that can be called Israel’s NSA.

The claim that Koby Menachemi worked at Unit 8200 also appears in the Forbes article and on Koby’s LinkedIn page:
Original: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kobyme
Archived: https://archive.ph/Tf76S#selection-1867.0-1903.5

What is Unit 8200?

[Infogalactic] Unit 8200:
Original: https://infogalactic.com/info/Unit_8200
Archived: https://archive.ph/HVkMS#selection-63.0-97.3

Unit 8200 (Hebrew: יחידה 8200‎, Yehida Shmoneh-Matayim) is an Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. It also appears in military publications as the Central Collection Unit of the Intelligence Corps and is sometimes referred to as Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU).

Private Internet Access VPN to be acquired by malware company founded by former Israeli spy 1
Koby Menachemi – Founder of Crossrider,
formerly of Israel’s IDF signals intelligence task force “Unit 8200”.

Lastly let’s examine the last block of text pertaining to the major shareholder in Crossrider (Kape Technologies).

Another key person, Teddy Sagi, who is the main investor in both Crossrider and Kape Technologies, is mentioned in the Panama Papers.

[Forbes] These Ex-Israeli Surveillance Agents Hijack Your Browser To Profit From Ads
Original: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2015/06/09/from-israel-unit-8200-to-ad-men/
Archived: https://archive.ph/4bPzQ

Private Internet Access VPN to be acquired by malware company founded by former Israeli spy 2
Teddy Sagi’s net worth is around $3.5 billion.

According to the above Forbes article:

One of the biggest is Crossrider, the majority stake of which is held by billionaire Teddy Sagi, a serial entrepreneur and ex-con who was jailed for insider trading in the 1990s

I am a PIA customer. What can I do from here?

Ultimately whether or not you trust Crossrider (Kape Technologies) as well as it’s shareholders with the operation of your VPN is a personal decision and it is certainly one which can be seen as having no correct answer. Is it possible that Crossrider (Kape Technologies) will operate PIA without interference or malicious intention? It certainly is. However having said that as a privacy minded VPN customer like myself you might also consider some possible alternatives if the above information I have provided has cast any doubt in your mind concerning the new management at Private Internet Access.

What we suggest is – drop them and get on board with the Hidden Router VPN. We provide a super fast and reliable VPN service, that runs on top of our top of the line VPN routers. They are fast, anonymous and reliable. You can grab yours at https://hiddenrouter.com/pricing and regain your online privacy.

This article appeared originally on telegra.ph