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Feds Watching: If You're Using ExpressVPN, You Should Stop



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 2 months ago '07        #1
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Jago  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5
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Feds Watching: If You're Using ExpressVPN, You Should Stop
 

 

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For years, ExpressVPN has been one of the most popular and widely used privacy products of its kind on the market. It’s often ranked highest on top 10 VPN lists; a recent Tom’s Guide review called it the “hands-down best” VPN available. In the past, if you wanted to stay anonymous on the web, Express would’ve likely been the way to go.

However, all of this has been called into question following the revelation that ExpressVPN Chief Information Officer Daniel Gericke previously worked as a hacker-for-hire at DarkMatter—a cybersecurity firm based in the United Arab Emirates. Between 2016 and 2019, Gericke helped to hack systems and devices all over the world as part of “Project Raven,” a secretive operation designed to help the UAE monarchy track and surveil critics of its regime, including activists, journalists, and some individuals based in the U.S.


Gericke and two other former U.S. intelligence operatives recently faced federal charges for their involvement in “Raven” but managed to reach deferred prosecution agreements with the government, allowing them to pay fines to avoid jail-time, while also agreeing to certain terms.

If the idea of an ex-spy helping a Middle Eastern government hack U.S. computers is disturbing to you, don’t worry—you’re not alone. On top of that, the news of Gericke’s employment with the company has rightfully startled customers of ExpressVPN, leading to a torrent of online criticism. Express initially tried to quell concerns about their executive’s ties to “Raven” by weirdly admitting that they knew “key facts” about his prior employment when they hired him and were pretty much fine with it. This strategy didn’t really pan out for them. They subsequently published a more extensive statement, noting that they did “not condone” Project Raven” as the “surveillance it represents is completely antithetical to our mission.” They also promised to increase third-party audits as a method to sustain compliance with their own privacy policy.

However, in their remarks, the company ultimately stuck by Gericke. The company explained it like this:

Some may ask: How could we willingly invite someone with Daniel’s past into our midst? For us, the answer is clear: We are protecting our customers.

To do that job effectively—to do it, as we believe, better than anyone else in our industry—requires harnessing all the firepower of our adversaries. The best goalkeepers are the ones trained by the best strikers. Someone steeped and seasoned in offense, as Daniel is, can offer insights into defense that are difficult, if not impossible, to come by elsewhere. That’s why there is a well-established precedent of companies in cybersecurity hiring talent from military or intelligence backgrounds.
Whether you buy this argument or not, it could be argued that once that seasoned veteran winds up in federal court, things might have to be reassessed a little. Reuters reports that he is still employed with the company.

Ultimately, these calming words do not seem to have soothed everybody. Not only are the company’s customers riled up, but so are its employees. At a recent virtual meeting, ExpressVPN employees apparently aired their grievances about the recent turn of events, not pausing to mince words.

“This episode has eroded consumer’s trust in our brand, regardless of the facts. How do we intend to rebuild our reputation?” said one.


“To find out such news of the people we work closely with everyday through an online article was absolutely distasteful. Why weren’t we given a heads up? Isn’t transparency and respect our core values?” another person reportedly asked.

Other recent events have caused some to question ExpressVPN’s direction. The company was recently purchased by Kape Technologies, an Israeli technology firm with a controversial past. Formerly known as CrossRider, the company was renamed in 2018 after it got a little too much publicity for, as CNET recently put it, being the “notorious creator of some pernicious data-huffing ad-ware.” Since then, it has been on an apparent rebranding effort accompanied by a privacy product buying spree. In recent years, the firm has procured the VPNs CyberGhost, Zenmate, and Private Internet Access, and purchased ExpressVPN for $936 million earlier this month.

Some of the key figures a*sociated with Kape have also raised eyebrows. A majority share of the company is owned by Teddy Sagi, an Israeli billionaire who, in the 1990s, pled guilty to charges related to bribery and market manipulation and subsequently spent a short stint behind bars. Businesses connected to Sagi were also unearthed in the Panama Papers, the multi-terabyte leak which showed the intricate network of shell companies and tax havens used by world leaders and businesses. The company’s previous CEO and co-founder, Koby Menachemi, is also an Israeli ex-intelligence officer who served in Unit 8200, the notorious cyber (read: hacking) wing of the Israel Defense Forces. Menachemi left the company in 2016.

At the very least, ExpressVPN owes its users a more extensive transparency report on why it hired Gericke. However, given everything that’s come out, it’s probably not out of the question for some customers to up and quit the company’s services altogether.

When you consider the prominence of ExpressVPN, the episode also raises questions about just how secure the VPN industry is overall: How common is it for those on the furthest, flintiest edges of the surveillance industry to turn around and work for companies dedicated to protecting privacy? While you would like to hope the answer is “not very common,” the largely unregulated, walled-off nature of the privacy industry makes it impossible to tell. We reached out to ExpressVPN for comment and will update this story if they get back to us.



visit this link You Should Probably Stop Using ExpressVPN
+20   



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125 comments
 

 2 months ago '08        #2
RokkyRok 
Props total: 3740 3 K  Slaps total: 431 431
I think it's why we're seeing so many free and cheap VPN services pop up now. When you think about it a VPN is just a tunnel that funnels your web traffic to a specific place, anything can be in that tunnel.
I noticed that with one of my VPNs, regardless of the country setting, the sites would always load up in Ukranian.
+20   

 2 months ago '04        #3
dblock187s 
Props total: 8536 8 K  Slaps total: 1394 1 K
Whats a better vpn
+18   

 2 months ago '19        #4
THEHIGHTS34 
Props total: 232 232  Slaps total: 19 19
Used to use it ….there are better choices ….also I repeat DO NOT USE NORDVPN
+34   

 2 months ago '06        #5
Sel 
Props total: 388 388  Slaps total: 142 142
PIA any good?
+5   

 2 months ago '11        #6
BaseWhitaker 
Props total: 30019 30 K  Slaps total: 4393 4 K
What are better alternatives?
+13   

 2 months ago '20        #7
Jimmy2times 
Props total: 21720 21 K  Slaps total: 1846 1 K
Just cancelled my Torguard subscription last week cuz I don't use it anymore but it worked great for several years
+5   

 2 months ago '14        #8
Bigboi781  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x10
Props total: 24109 24 K  Slaps total: 7225 7 K
Feds are always watching. Some of you need to understand that most of the things that you take advantage of, some government especially US is involved somewhere. Whether it’s encryption, VPN, crypto, etc. if the government wants access to your stuff, they can get it
+52   

 2 months ago '18        #9
BrooklynDamien  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x2
Props total: 47236 47 K  Slaps total: 3871 3 K
I don't use vpns at all but was looking at this crypto "dpn" because you earn crypto from it some how. Anybody have any experience with deeper network decentralized vpn?

+1   

 2 months ago '05        #10
edote 
Props total: 1520 1 K  Slaps total: 128 128
 Bigboi781 said
Feds are always watching. Some of you need to understand that most of the things that you take advantage of, some government especially US is involved somewhere. Whether it’s encryption, VPN, crypto, etc. if the government wants access to your stuff, they can get it
Bingo propped
+11   

 2 months ago '11        #11
Ahhhsit 
Props total: 1089 1 K  Slaps total: 92 92
 THEHIGHTS34 said
Used to use it ….there are better choices ….also I repeat DO NOT USE NORDVPN
Elaborate
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 2 months ago '13        #12
DiegoRivera  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x16
Props total: 71544 71 K  Slaps total: 5472 5 K
 THEHIGHTS34 said
Used to use it ….there are better choices ….also I repeat DO NOT USE NORDVPN
Explain
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 2 months ago '04        #13
NAKHI ALLAH 
Props total: 41021 41 K  Slaps total: 3185 3 K
Yea I'm like fu*k em never used em anyway only because I always thought vpn idea was a scam
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 2 months ago '07        #14
Jago  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5 OP
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 Sel said
PIA any good?
PIA is owned by the same company.

 BaseWhitaker said
What are better alternatives?
Checkout
[spoiler - click to view]

.
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 2 months ago '19        #15
GetYaCoinsKing  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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 BaseWhitaker said
What are better alternatives?
I been using
since 2012, IYKYK.

 2 months ago '20        #16
Max Mayhem 
Props total: 5532 5 K  Slaps total: 637 637
Vpn in general is a scam iykyk
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 2 months ago '19        #17
zzxxccvvbb 
Props total: 29543 29 K  Slaps total: 3768 3 K
If your vpn isn't open source and you don't have full control of the servers then it's probably a liability
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 2 months ago '05        #18
Stuart Scott  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x26
Props total: 71379 71 K  Slaps total: 10929 10 K
Lol at vpn being a scam

It’s so useful for those who know how to use it right
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 2 months ago '05        #19
Stuart Scott  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x26
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But yeah express vpn is probably the most popular for a reason iykyk
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 2 months ago '05        #20
Soprano ATL  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x3
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fu*k the feds, my background check got delayed today.
+7   

 2 months ago '09        #21
eyensteyn 
Props total: 1032 1 K  Slaps total: 359 359
Snowden is quite possibly the greatest American of our generation but he can't step foot in this country... I swear if I beat this case I'm out this bi*ch
+14   

 2 months ago '17        #22
justin747  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x5
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sportsbook top 10
 BrooklynDamien said
I don't use vpns at all but was looking at this crypto "dpn" because you earn crypto from it some how. Anybody have any experience with deeper network decentralized vpn?

Avoid
+3   

 2 months ago '06        #23
Verdict  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x2
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 THEHIGHTS34 said
Used to use it ….there are better choices ….also I repeat DO NOT USE NORDVPN
Hold up, why not NordVPN?
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 2 months ago '12        #24
Pimpointment 
Props total: 3911 3 K  Slaps total: 422 422
I would think he knows a lot about cyber security since he worked with it in the capacity he did. But also we being watched no matter what privacy we think we may have
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 2 months ago '17        #25
Harasnart 
Props total: 16314 16 K  Slaps total: 9804 9 K
 THEHIGHTS34 said
Used to use it ….there are better choices ….also I repeat DO NOT USE NORDVPN
I’ve been using Nord vpn as well as others. No complaints. Why not?
+4   



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